Fritz Kreisler (February 2, 1875 – January 29, 1962) was an Austrian violinist and composer, one of the most famous of his day.
Kreisler was born in Vienna in Austria. He studied at the conservatoires
there and in Paris, where his teachers included Léo Delibes.
He made his first tour of America in 1888-89, then returned to
Austria and applied for a position in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
He was turned down, and left music to study first medicine, then
painting. He spent a brief time in the army before returning to
the violin 1899, giving a concert with the Berlin Philharmonic
Orchestra conducted by Arthur Nikisch. It was this concert and
a series of American tours from 1901 to 1903 that brought him real
In 1910, Kreisler gave the premiere of Edward Elgar's Violin Concerto,
a work dedicated to him. He briefly served in the Austrian Army
in World War I before being honourably discharged after he was
wounded. He spent the remaining years of the war in America, and
lived in Berlin from 1924. He moved to France in 1938 but shortly
thereafter settled in America, becoming an American citizen in
1943. He lived in that country for the rest of his life. He gave
his last public concert in 1947 and broadcasted performances for
a few years after that. He died in New York City in 1962.
Kreisler wrote a number of pieces for the violin, some of them
in the style of other composers. Many of these works were originally
ascribed to earlier composers such as Gaetano Pugnani and Giuseppe
Tartini until Kreisler revealed in 1935 that they were actually
by him. When critics complained, Kreisler answered that critics
had already deemed the compositions worthy. "The name changes,
the value remains". He also wrote operettas (including Apple
Blossoms (1919), a string quartet and cadenzas, including one
for the Johannes Brahms Violin Concerto. His cadenza for Ludwig
van Beethoven's Violin Concerto is the one most often employed
by violinists today.
Other Kreisler Resources
"Genius is an overused word. The world has known only about a half dozen geniuses. I got only fairly near."
- Fritz Kreisler