- Joanne Swenson-Eldridge
Kreisler, Fritz (02 February 1875–29 January 1962), violinist and composer, was born Friedrich Kreisler in Vienna, Austria, the son of Samuel Severin Kreisler, a general medical practitioner and amateur violinist, and Anna (maiden name unknown). Fritz’s father and musical friends devoted Saturday afternoons to string quartet playing. Young Fritz listened, and at age four, having successfully played the national anthem on a toy violin for the Saturday group, he received a genuine small violin from his father. Jacques Auber, concertmaster at the Ring Theater and a friend of Dr. Kreisler, agreed to teach Fritz, who made rapid progress. In 1882 Kreisler was admitted to the Vienna Conservatory. He studied violin with Joseph Hellmesberger, Jr., and studied harmony and theory with Anton Bruckner. Kreisler’s piano skills, much lauded by colleagues in later years, were self-taught while he was at the conservatory. Kreisler gave his first public violin performance in 1884 in a conservatory concert, and in 1885 he won first prize for violinists, the conservatory’s gold medal, which was an unprecedented accomplishment for a ten-year-old....