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Abbott, Emma (09 December 1850–05 January 1891), soprano and opera impresario, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Seth Abbott, an itinerant musician and music teacher, and Almira Palmer. Abbott’s father encouraged her and her brother George to develop the musical ability that they demonstrated at an early age. Emma, who sang constantly as a child, chose the guitar as her instrument; her brother studied the violin. In 1854 the family moved from Chicago to Peoria, Illinois, and their fortunes declined. To supplement the family income Seth Abbott and the two musical children began to give concerts in Peoria and elsewhere starting in 1859; according to contemporary biographical lexicographer F. O. Jones, the trio performed hundreds of concerts during this period....

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Grau, Maurice (1849–14 March 1907), music and theater impresario, was born in Brno, Moravia, the son of Emmanuel Grau and Rosalie (maiden name unknown). In about 1854 he immigrated with his parents to New York City, where they ran a boardinghouse. Grau began working in the theater for his uncle Jacob Grau while studying at the College of the City of New York. Upon graduating in 1867, he enrolled at Columbia Law School. But, preferring his uncle’s profession, Grau left without graduating, instead holding “about every place that one can hold in the theater, except on the stage.” Other members of Grau’s family involved in theater management included a brother, two cousins, and a second uncle. Information regarding Grau’s marital status is sketchy. Biographical sources indicate that he married Marie Durand in 1883, but obituaries list his widow as Jeannette....

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Hammerstein, Oscar (08 May 1848–01 August 1919), inventor, operatic impresario, and theatrical manager, was born in Berlin, Germany (although his family lived in Stettin, Prussia), the son of Abraham Hammerstein, a well-to-do, German-Jewish merchant, and Bertha Valentine, from a musically oriented French Huguenot family. Hammerstein was educated by private tutors, but at age sixteen, after a severe and unwarranted punishment from his father, he ran away from home. He fled to England and then boarded a ship bound for America, paying for his passage by selling his violin. Arriving at New York, Hammerstein found employment filling rush orders for the U.S. Army at a Pearl Street cigar factory. Within two years he had mastered the process well enough to invent a machine that greatly improved cigar production. Patented in July 1865, the invention revolutionized cigar making but brought only about $6,000 to the young inventor. However, subsequent similar labor-saving inventions reportedly brought him more than $1 million. In 1884 he invested his first royalties in the ...

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Kellogg, Clara Louise (09 July 1842–13 May 1916), soprano and operatic impresario, was born in Sumterville (now Sumter), South Carolina, the daughter of George Kellogg and Jane Elizabeth Crosby, teachers. Both of her parents were from well-established Connecticut families, and shortly after her birth the family returned north, to Birmingham (now Derby), Connecticut. Clara Louise’s father worked as an inventor and manufacturer, but his business failed around 1855; as a result the Kellogg family moved to New York City....

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Maretzek, Max (28 June 1821–14 May 1897), opera impresario, conductor, and composer, was born Maximilian Mareczek in Brünn, Moravia (now Brno, Czechoslovakia). His formal education emphasized literature and the classics; he was also instructed on the piano and pursued general music studies. He enrolled at the University of Vienna at the age of seventeen, first to study medicine, then law (both professions were acceptable to his parents). He discarded both, however, and with the encouragement of the Austrian music historian and teacher Joseph Fischof turned his attention to music, his first love. His major field of concentration was composition, which he studied with the composer and conductor Ignaz Xaver Ritter von Seyfried. These studies resulted in his first major work, the opera ...

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Strakosch, Maurice (15 January 1825–09 October 1887), and Max Strakosch (27 September 1835–17 March 1892), opera and concert impresarios, were born in Gross-Seelowitz (now Zidlochovice), near Brünn, Moravia (now Brno, Czechoslovakia), the sons of a liquor distiller and his wife. Maurice was also a pianist and a composer. Max and Maurice’s brother Ferdinand also worked as an impresario, and their sister Louise performed as a singer under the name Madame Fischoff....

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