Fritz Kreisler

Fun Facts

  • Kreisler was born in Vienna, Austria.

  • Kreisler was so exceptionally talented that he was accepted at the Vienna Conservatory when he was only seven years old.

  • At the age of twelve, while studying at the Paris Conservatory, Kreisler was awarded the "Premier Grand Prix de Rome" gold medal over several adult students.

  • After being turned down for a position in the Vienna Philharmonic, Kreisler left music temporarily to study medicine.

  • Kreisler rarely practiced, claiming that playing the violin was something that happened more in the brain than in the hands.

  • Though he was a composer, Kreisler is remembered more for being one of the greatest violinists of all time.

  • When World War II broke out, Kreisler settled in the United States and became a naturalized citizen in 1943.

  • Kreisler served in the Austrian Army during World War I, and received an honorable discharge after he was wounded.

  • Edward Elgar's Violin Concerto was dedicated to Kreisler, and Kreisler gave the premiere performance.

  • Unsure that his original music would be well-received, Kreisler composed music in the style of almost-forgotten composers from the past, claiming that he had unearthed the music in libraries and monasteries.  Kreisler would admit to the hoax later in life.

  • Though Kreisler composed some large pieces, operettas, and various shorter works, his most popular compositions were short, sentimental pieces that featured the violin.

  • Struck by a truck while crossing a street in New York, Kreisler suffered a fractured skull and was in a coma for over a week. However, he recovered and continued to give concerts after the accident.

  • Kreisler donated his Giuseppe Guarneri violin to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. where it remains in use for performances given in the library.

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