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Violinist extraordinaire

Born in Vienna, Austria on February 2, 1875, Fritz was a precocious and brilliant child who began to study the violin at the age of four. Believed to be so gifted, Fritz was accepted as a pupil of the pedagogue, Jacob Dont at the age of six. He entered the Vienna Conservatory a year later and gave his first solo performance there at nine.

In Paris, he continued violin studies with Massart at the Paris Conservatoire, where in 1887, he shared the school's top prize with four other students. He made his American debut in Boston in November, 1888 and toured the USA with pianist Moriz Rosenthal. When critics deemed him immature in interpretive matters, Kreisler decided to give up his music in favor of medicine, and returned to Vienna. After a four year stint in the Austrian army, he once again resolved to pursue the violin.

In 1898, his Vienna debut was performed with Richter and the Vienna Philharmonic. Here and later in Berlin, Kreisler was finally acclaimed as a full-fledged virtuoso. He came back and wowed the American audience, packing houses while doing concertos and recital performances. His London debut was in 1902, and for the next twelve years, he was the reigning king of the music world. Playing his 1733 Guarneri del Gesu violin, he seduced and charmed audiences on the stage as well as at social gatherings.

In 1914, he joined the Austrian army, once again, was wounded and went to America, where he refused to perform until the war (WWI), was over. After the war, he continued touring and was acknowledged for the remainder of his career as one of the greatest violinists of all time. Fritz Kreisler died in New York on January 29, 1962.


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