Lemercier in Paris. But music became his career. He was a student of Ernst Pauer (piano) in Mainz, and 1855-1856 of Siegfried Dehn (counterpoint) in Berlin. He also took voice lessons with Antonio Sangiovanni in Milan.
He first taught at the Munich Conservatory and was court Kapellmeister in Zürich, Nuremberg and 1859-1865 in Hanover.
Between 1865 and 1866 he was director of the Cherubini Society in Florence and also taught at the Stern Conservatory and the Kullak Conservatory. From 1871-1883 he directed the Orchestra Society in Breslau.
In 1883 he was appointed director of the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, a post he held until 1908. He died in Munich in 1916.
His Piano Concerto was championed by Clara Schumann, who included it in her repertory.
He was one of four signatories to an anti-"Music of the Future" (anti-New-Weimar-School) Manifesto published in the Berliner Musik-Zeitung Echo on May 6, 1860, along with Johannes Brahms (possibly its author), Joseph Joachim and Julius Otto Grimm.