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Fritz Kreisler in three piece suit holding up violin in left hand with bow in right hand. Standing in front of a fireplace and chari.
Fritz Kreisler pictured with his violin, ca. 1915-1920, Bain News Service, George Grantham Bain Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Queen Elizabeth, Liszt and Instrument Additions Arrive for the Fritz Kreisler Collection

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The following is a guest post by Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford, Curator of Musical Instruments, and Dr. Frederic Kreisler.

Over the past few years Dr. Frederic Kreisler, grandson of the cellist Hugo Kreisler (1884-1929) and grand-nephew of the violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), has generously donated Kreisler family materials and musical instruments to the Fritz Kreisler Collection at the Library of Congress, Music Division.

The gifts include correspondence, awards, memorabilia and photographs pertaining to the careers and lives of Kreisler family members, spanning the years 1865-1965 while they were in Vienna, London, Paris and the United States. The additions include several books from Fritz Kreisler’s personal collection of rare books, as well as manuscripts containing material not previously seen or published that will delight researchers, biographers and musicians.

Of particular note is the “Premier Prix” gold medal awarded to Fritz Kreisler upon graduation from the Paris Conservatory in 1887 at age 12, as well as correspondence from his teacher Joseph Lambert Massart (1811-1892). The letters from Massart recount his impressions of the remarkable young Kreisler and describe his great interest in his pupil, “this accomplished child who is gifted in all aspects of music.” Other correspondence is from Buckingham Palace and Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth (from 1947), an unrelated letter from Franz Liszt, and Fritz Kreisler’s copy of Leopold Mozart’s “Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule” from 1769.

Silver colored medal belonging to Fritz Kreisler
Fritz Kreisler’s 1st Prize medal from the Conservatoire National de Musique et de Déclamation, 1887, Fritz Kreisler Collection, Music Division. Photo courtesy of Dr. Frederic Kreisler.

Dr. Kreisler’s donation of musical instruments includes a cello played by his grandfather, attributed to Georges Chanot Sr. of Paris, with a Hill certificate dating it to ca. 1830-40. The cello features an adjustable neck design by the Viennese violin maker Wilhelm Thomas Jaura and the donation includes accompanying cello bows. Dr. Kreisler also generously donated assorted violin bows that belonged to Fritz Kreisler, including bows by Hill, the workshop of Eugene Sartory of Paris and James Tubbs of London, ca. 1885.

Cello in open case resting on a pink upholstered couch.
Cello that belonged to Hugo Kreisler, donated by Dr. Frederic Kreisler (H. Kreisler’s grandson), Music Division. Photo courtesy of Dr. Frederic Kreisler.


Researchers interested in studying these additions to the Kreisler Collection should contact the Music Division through Ask a Librarian. Explore the finding aid for the Fritz Kreisler Collection here.


Comments (2)

  1. Dear Carol Lynn,
    These are lovely additions to the collection. I’m very curious about the “adjustable neck” design of the cello, as I have never seen any reference to such a device. Nice bows as well. I look forward to meeting with you in the near future.

  2. Wonderful!

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