Fritz Kreisler

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Kreisler, Fritz

Kreisler, Fritz (krīsˈlər), 1875–1962, Austrian-American violinist, studied at the conservatories of Vienna and Paris. He first appeared in the United States in 1889. After studying medicine, then art, Kreisler returned to the violin, making a sensationally successful appearance in Berlin in 1899. In 1901 he played again in the United States and afterward was perhaps the most popular violinist in the country. He served briefly in the Austrian army in World War I; in 1939 he became a French citizen and in 1943 a U.S. citizen. He composed the operettas Apple Blossoms (1919) and Sissy (1933) and numerous famous violin pieces, including Caprice Viennois, Tambourin Chinois, and Polichinelle Sérénade. In 1935 he revealed that a number of the pieces he had published as compositions of old masters were actually his own.


See biography by L. P. Lochner (1950).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kreisler, Fritz


Born Feb. 2, 1875, in Vienna; died Jan. 29, 1962, in New York City. Austrian violinist and composer.

Kreisler studied violin with J. Hellmesberger and J. L. Massart and composition with L. Delibes. He made his debut in Vienna at the age of seven. In 1888 he toured in the USA and then temporarily abandoned the violin. In 1893, with concerts in Moscow, he renewed his performing career. Kreisler’s concerts in Berlin in 1899 brought him world fame. From 1915 until 1924 he lived primarily in the USA, where he finally settled in 1939. He gave concerts until 1947.

Kreisler’s career was an epoch in musical art. A unique melodiousness, feeling, brilliance, and elegance distinguished his playing. As a composer Kreisler was the unsurpassed master of small genres. He created a repertoire of short solo pieces (Caprice viennois and Pretty Rosemary Plant, for example) and published a series of pieces for violin and piano, Classical Manuscripts (1905), providing his own stylizations as arrangements of works by 17th-and 18th-century composers (F. Couperin, G. Pugnani, and L. Boccherini). Kreisler composed many transcriptions and cadenzas for concertos (including those of Beethoven and Brahms) and created new editions of violin works.


Iampol’skii, I. “Frits Kreisler.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1955, no. 9.
Raaben, L. Zhizn’ zamechatel’nykh skripachei. Moscow-Leningrad, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Kreisler, Fritz

(1875–1962) violinist; born in Vienna, Austria. At age ten, he won a gold medal at the Vienna Conservatory and in 1887 he won the Grand Prix at the Paris Conservatory. The next year saw his American debut in New York. For some years he pursued medicine and military service, but returned to music in 1899. From then on he was one of the most beloved violinists in the world; he also composed light violin works (which he sometimes attributed to other composers) and two operettas. Having spent much time in the U.S.A., he moved there permanently in 1940 and retired in 1950.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
The competition, named for world-renowned violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler, was founded in 1979 and is held every four years for highly talented violinists from around the world 30 years old or below.
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The Godowsky Kreisler Collection: The Complete Works for Violin and Piano, by Leopold Godowsky and Fritz Kreisler. Carl Fischer (65 Bleeker St., New York, NY 10012), 2004.
Esteemed conductor and violinist Lorin Maazel tells us in the booklet note that his father was an ardent admirer of the early-20th-century violin-tenor duets of Fritz Kreisler and John McCormack, and that he collected many of their popular recordings.
And instead of his usual choices of clever lyrics and melodic phrases from Cole Porter and the Gershwins, Beethoven and Fritz Kreisler, there was the thump of percussive sounds credited to "Various." Todd Clark designed scenery and lighting for Flatline.
He, who can scarcely hear even shouting, can tell stories of having heard young Jascha Heifetz and Fritz Kreisler in the 1920s and 1930s, reminding a willing listener what musicality is really about.
Apple Blossoms, a romantic opera by Fritz Kreisler and Victor Jacoby, opened at the Globe Theatre in New York City.
1910: Edward Elgar, below, conducted the first performance of his violin concerto, played by Fritz Kreisler, in the Queen's Hall, London.
He met with famous musician Fritz Kreisler and philosopher/artist Artur Schnabel, and played violin sonatas with Max Planck.
The sounds of Johann Sebastian Bach, Fritz Kreisler, Philippe Gaubert, Sergei Rachmaninoff and other classical composers will be heard on Sunday in Paphos, when a piano, a violin and a flute meet on the Technopolis 20 Cultural Centre's stage.