Burmester was born March 16, 1869, at Hamburg. He was a pupil of Dr. Joachim in Berlin, with whom he studied for many years.
In 1885, however, he seceded from the Joachim school, and commenced to develop his technic with a view to achieving virtuosity rather than a classic purity of style.
He is a well-developed artist, however, and his taste is broad enough to include all schools of composition in his repertoire. His is at his best, nevertheless, as an interpreter of the works of Paganini, and his rendering of the classics is said to be somewhat cold and devoid of feeling. On the continent his reputation is very high. He failed, however, to make a great impression on his first visit to England and America, though his audiences were compelled to admire his marvelous technical feats, especially his left hand pizzicato, and rapid runs in thirds and tenths. His faulty intonation, however, interfered with his success somewhat.
In later years this defect has been improved very considerably, and we are told that those who have heard him play at his more recent concerts have been much impressed with his sterling musical qualities. He has been somewhat hampered in his career, and has been a considerable sufferer from having worn the end of his first finger down to the nerve.