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Classical Composers A-Z: Fritz Kreisler

Peter Wintersgill presents a brief biography of Fritz Kreisler, recongised as the finest violinist of the 20th Century.

Born
2nd February, 1875, in Vienna

Childhood
Entered Vienna Conservatoire at seven, Paris Conservatoire at ten, studying the violin with Massart, composition with Delibes.

Adolescence
Debut in New York at 13. Toured USA with pianist M. Rosenthal.

Adult Life
Studied medicine in Vienna and art in Rome and Paris. Returned to music in 1899 with a concert in Berlin. Played as soloist in premiere of Elgar’s Violin Concerto, when he could be said to have ‘arrived’.

Joined the Austrian Army in 1914, was wounded and discharged. Lived for ten years in New York, followed by ten years in Berlin and finally settled in USA where he was naturalised in 1943.

He wrote a few violin pieces for himself to play, e.g. Liebesfreud, Schon Rosmarin, attributed them to 18th Century composers.

Has since become recognised at the finest violinist of the 20th Century.

He died 29th January, 1962, in New York, aged 87.

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