LINGER, CARL FERDINAND AUGUST (1810-1862), musician and composer, was born on 15
March 1810 at Berlin, son of an engraver. His parents encouraged him to study
music under notable teachers and he started his composing career with six sacred
songs dedicated to the princess of Prussia. After visiting music schools in Italy,
he won repute for composing operas, masses, symphonies, cantatas and other musical
works. In the unsettled conditions of 1848 a Berlin Migration Society was formed
by Richard Schomburgk and others. With a party of intellectual Germans, Linger and
his wife Wilhelmine sailed from Hamburg in the Princess Luise and arrived at Port
Adelaide on 7 August 1849; a daughter was born on the voyage.
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Australian Dictionary of Biography
Carl Linger played a significant part in establishing large-scale concert performances in Adelaide. He grew up in Berlin, studying at the Berlin University and the Institute for Church Music. Although his early compositions first attracted attention in his home city, it was perhaps due to the 1848 revolutions in Germany that he departed. He arrived in Australia in 1849 on the ship Princess Louise with his wife and baby daughter, who had been born on the voyage. Initially unable to find musical employment, he bought eighty acres of farming land near Adelaide. After falling into debt he went to Adelaide and found work tuning pianos and copying music, and began to establish himself among aristocratic Adelaide families as a music teacher.
Linger became the conductor of several large choirs in Adelaide in the mid-1850s. From 1855 he conducted the Adelaide Choral Society (Adelaide Harmonic Society from 1859). He became the conductor of the new Adelaider Liedertafel in 1856, a position he held until his death. He conducted the first large-scale choral/orchestral concert in Adelaide with a performance of Handel's Messiah commemorating the centenary of the composer's death in 1859. He thereby helped to initiate in Adelaide the great Victorian Messiah tradition that was developing in many cities of the British empire.
Linger's most successful composition, Song of Australia, was composed for a competition run by the Gawler Institute in 1859. Based on a patriotic text by Mrs Caroline Carleton, the song was adopted as an unofficial anthem for South Australia and became so popular that the colonial government decreed in 1880 that it should be sung in all South Australian schools. Linger also wrote numerous orchestral and choral works, songs, and two operas. Much of his choir music is based on sacred texts, and was influenced in part by the contemporaneous Palestrina revival flourishing in Berlin.