VICTOR HERBERT (1859 - 1924)
The composer, conductor and cellist, Victor August Herbert was born in Dublin, Ireland on 1 Feb 1859. After the death of his father, he studied with Max Seifriz at the conservatory in Stuttgart, where he also participated in the court orchestra and performed as a solosist.
Victor Herbert composed in every style of music but he is perhaps best remembered today as the creator of delightful and elegant songs. His wife to be, Therese Foster, was already and established soprano in Germany in 1885 when Herbert, a cellist of the orchestra at Stuttgarts Royal Court, first met her. In 1896, Therese was discovered by Frank Damrosch, who was touring Europe to find fresh talent for the Metropolitan Opera. Therese refused a contract unless Herbert was also offered a position in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Damrosch. They were married in August 1896, and came to America that autumn. Therese was scheduled for many major performances. She was an immediate success, and although she shortly retired from singing, it is not surprising, given Herberts prolific gifts as a composer and arranger, that many of his finest efforts were the result of his collaborations with her and, by extension, for the soprano voice. As he began writing for the musical theatre—some forty operettas and two operas—a variety of other well-known sopranos became the vehicles for Herberts gifts.
On arrival in New York, Herbert, with his usual zeal, set about all kinds of activities. In addition to his opera duties, he became active in chamber music and shortly established himself as a major solo cellist, appearing first with the New York Philharmonic in 1887 and numerous times thereafter. He even founded his own orchestra which was probably modeled on his experiences in Vienna with the Eduard Strauss orchestra. The Victor Herbert Orchestra performed a mixture of classics and other light music. As the years passed, perhaps also in the manner of the Strauss family, he created innumerable light compositions for the concerts of his orchestra. His hand-picked ensemble soon achieved great fame and began touring about the country.