Brainard's Biographies of American Musicians

Brainard's Biographies of American Musicians

Brainard's Biographies of American Musicians

Brainard's Biographies of American Musicians

Synopsis

The series of biographical sketches published by Brainard's Musical World between 1877 and 1889 is notable for the diversity of the musicians profiled and for the entertaining personal information provided. This period witnessed the establishment of musical institutions and attitudes toward music that have shaped American music to the present day. The biographies present a cross-section of American musicians in the late 19th century, including singers, instrumentalists, writers, teachers, and composers. Among the musicians included are some of America's most prominent conductors, such as Theodore Thomas and Leopold Damrosch; composers, such as John Knowles Paine and George F. Root; writers, such as John S. Dwight and Amy Fay; teachers, such as William Mason and Erminia Rudersdorff; and performers, such as Emma Abbott and Maud Powell. Scores of less familiar musicians who were also instrumental in shaping America's music are included as well. Originally intended for general readers, the biographical sketches,not only shed light on musical topics but also include personal information that is seldom found in a traditional dictionary and which speak to the attitudes and concerns of the late 19th century society.

Excerpt

Giese, Fritz (b. the Hague, Holland, January 2, 1859; d. Boston, August 5, 1896); No. 111 (January 1887). Although honored with the position of solo cellist to his Royal Highness the king of the Netherlands, Giese had a great desire to come to this country, and we may with pride speak of him now as "Our Fritz." He is a native of Holland, having been born at the Hague on January 2, 1859. His father was a cellist and early decided that if instruction could bring about the result, his son should follow in his footsteps. When but a little over four years of age, Fritz began to study music, using at first a viola, for the cello was too large for him. When eleven years of age, the king, a great lover of music, offered him out of his own private funds the means for further advancement. He continued his studies under Friedrich Grützmacher in Dresden and later under Jacquard in Paris.

After his studies were completed, he was called to Göteborg, Sweden, where he spent one season, after which he traveled with Maurice Dengremont, the Brazilian violinist, throughout Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. At the close of this very brilliant tour Giese was summoned by his sovereign to play at the Court of Holland. His playing gave such satisfaction that he was made solo cellist to His Majesty the king of the Netherlands. He was also employed as first cellist at Amsterdam, and while there he received an offer from Mr. Thomas Ryan of Boston to join the Mendelssohn Quintette Club on its tour through the United States. We have heard him in connection with this club, and it may safely be said that Americans never heard more perfect cello playing than his. Surely we never saw a greater or a more perfect technique on this instrument than that of Fritz Giese. He traveled with this club not only through the United States but also through Canada, Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Next he traveled for some time with Christine Nilsson and then went to Europe, where he remained for six months. Returning to New York he played in most of the concerts there and finally settled in Boston as soloist. His success there is simply immense, he being recognized by all as a master of his art. He is now employed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, giving at the same time private . . .

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