The new exhibition at the Exilarte Center, which will be open to the public starting September 17, 2022, illustrates Kreisler’s family history, his time in Vienna and his special ability to communicate with the media (record companies, newspapers, radio) through numerous pictures, musical materials and life documents, as well as a catalog that will be published in parallel. His violin style (in connection with the major concertos and the Beethoven sonatas) is also thematized, as are his arrangements and compositional style. Likewise, the historical component of the expulsion by the Nazi regime based on “racial” reasons is shown and – as is already a tradition of Exilarte exhibitions – the inclusion of other exiled and ostracized violin virtuosos and string quartets of the time (Alma and Arnold Rosé, Carl Flesch, Bronislaw Hubermann, Ferdinand Adler, Busch Quartet, Rostal Quartet etc.) is addressed.
Fritz Kreisler (Vienna, 1875 – 1962, New York) was first taught by his father before he entered the Conservatory of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (today mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna) in 1882, where he studied with Josef Hellmesberger Jr. and Anton Bruckner. At the age of seven, he was the youngest child prodigy at this school. After studying in Paris, he went on a successful tour in the USA together with the pianist Moriz Rosenthal in 1888.
An audition with the Vienna Philharmonic was unsuccessful; nevertheless, he was invited to play as a soloist with the orchestra. After further successes with the Berlin Philharmonic under Arthur (Artúr) Nikisch, one of the most brilliant and lucrative solo careers of the time began. In 1910 Kreisler premiered Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto, which was dedicated to him. His wife, the American Harriet Lies, who maintained a good relationship with the Nazi regime, managed him – they owned a house in Berlin from 1924 to 1934. In 1935, Kreisler was awarded the Ring of Honor by the City of Vienna. Due to his Jewish ancestry, the Nazis banned all his recordings and performances in 1938. He received French citizenship and emigrated to America in 1939; in 1943, he became an American citizen. Kreisler’s last performance was in 1947.
This exhibition will be open beginning September 17, 2022.
Exilarte Center of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna