Theodore Eisfeld (April 11, 1816, Wolfenbüttel, Duchy of Brunswick – 16 September 1882, Wiesbaden) was a conductor, most notably of the New York Philharmonic Society, which became the New York Philharmonic.
Wolfenbüttel is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany, the administrative capital of Wolfenbüttel District. It is best known as the location of the internationally renowned Herzog August Library and for having the largest concentration of timber-framed buildings in Germany. It is an episcopal see of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick. It is also home to the Jägermeister distillery and houses a campus of the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences.
The Duchy of Brunswick was a historical German state. Its capital was the city of Brunswick (Braunschweig). It was established as the successor state of the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. In the course of the 19th-century history of Germany, the duchy was part of the German Confederation, the North German Confederation and from 1871 the German Empire. It was disestablished after the end of World War I, its territory incorporated into the Weimar Republic as the Free State of Brunswick.
Wiesbaden is a city in central western Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. In January 2018, it had 289,544 inhabitants, plus approximately 19,000 United States citizens. The Wiesbaden urban area is home to approx. 560,000 people.
Eisfeld's chief instructor in musical composition was Carl Gottlieb Reissiger, of Dresden. Between 1839 and 1843 he served as Kapellmeister of the Court Theatre at Wiesbaden.He came to New York in 1848, and in 1849 was the first man chosen by the New York Philharmonic Society to be sole conductor for an entire season (prior to this time it had been customary for several musicians to share the conducting duties). He began the custom of giving an annual Christmas performance of Handel's Messiah . He also introduced the first regular concerts of chamber music in New York.
Carl Gottlieb Reißiger was a German Kapellmeister and composer.
Dresden is the capital city and, after Leipzig, the second-largest city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the border with the Czech Republic.
Kapellmeister is a German word designating a person in charge of music-making. The word is a compound, consisting of the roots Kapelle and Meister ("master"). The word was originally used to refer to somebody in charge of music in a chapel. However, the term has evolved considerably in its meaning in response to changes in the musical profession.
From 1849 through the 1865/1866 season, when he resigned, Eisfeld often served as conductor of the New York Philharmonic Society.In this period it was customary for the conductor to change from season to season, sometimes with two men sharing the duties. On 18 February 1851, he began a series of quartet concerts, the first being given at Hope Chapel. Eisfeld was also the first conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic Society, which was founded in 1857. He continued in this position, alternating with Theodore Thomas between 1862 and 1865, before Thomas took over. This period also saw the composition of some brief works by Eisfeld.
A string quartet is a musical ensemble consisting of four string players – two violin players, a viola player and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group. The string quartet is one of the most prominent chamber ensembles in classical music, with most major composers, from the mid 18th century onwards, writing string quartets.
There have been several organizations referred to as the "Brooklyn Philharmonic." The most recent one was the now-defunct Brooklyn Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, an American orchestra based in the borough of Brooklyn, in New York City in existence from the 1950s until 2012. In its heyday it was called "groundbreaking" and “one of the most innovative and respected symphony orchestras of modern times.”
Theodore Thomas was a German-American violinist, conductor, and orchestrator of German birth. He is considered the first renowned American orchestral conductor and was the founder and first music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1891–1905).
On Eisfeld's return trip from a visit to Europe in September 1858, he was one of the few survivors of the burning of the steamship SS Austria where he was lashed to a platform and so drifted on the ocean, without food, for nearly two days and nights. Eisfeld never recovered from this extraordinary prostration, returning to Germany in 1866, and remained there until his death in Wiesbaden at 66.
SS Austria was a steamship of the Hamburg America Line which sank on 13 September 1858, in one of the worst transatlantic maritime disasters of the nineteenth century, claiming the lives of 449 passengers and crew. The Austria was built by Caird & Co. of Greenock, Scotland and was launched on 23 June 1857. She was 318 ft and 2,684 BRT, with three masts and single screw propeller propulsion.
In his autobiography, Theodore Thomas described Eisfeld as follows:
Eisfeld belonged to the class of "time-beaters" and would make corrections in the harmonies of master-works he did not understand
The New York Philharmonic, officially the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, Inc., globally known as New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO) or New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, is a symphony orchestra based in New York City. It is one of the leading American orchestras popularly referred to as the "Big Five". The Philharmonic's home is David Geffen Hall, located in New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Heinrich Barth was a German explorer of Africa and scholar.
The Dean of the United States Senate is an informal term for the Senator with the longest continuous service, regardless of party affiliation. This is not an official position within the Senate, although customarily the longest-serving member of the majority party serves as President pro tempore.
George Frederick Bristow was an American composer. He advocated American classical music, rather than favoring European pieces. He was famously involved in a related controversy involving William Henry Fry and the New York Philharmonic Society.
Ureli Corelli Hill was an American conductor, and the first president and conductor of the New York Philharmonic Society.
Henry David Leslie was an English composer and conductor. Leslie was a leader in supporting amateur choral musicians in Britain, founding prize-winning amateur choral societies. He was also a supporter of musical higher education, helping to found national music schools.
Adolf Heinrich Anton Magnus Neuendorff, also known as Adolph Neuendorff, was a German American composer, violinist, pianist and conductor, stage director, and theater manager.
Carl Bergmann was a German-American cellist and conductor.
Thomas Richard Whitney was a nineteenth-century politician and writer from New York.
Charles Wilkins Webber was a United States journalist and explorer.
Josef Leopold Zvonař was a Czech composer, pedagogue, and big music critic.
Carl Zerrahn was a German-born American flautist and conductor. His widespread activity in the region made him an influential figure in New England and Boston classical music, especially choral music, in the latter half of the 19th century. He was especially successful in the presentation of the great oratorios and the management of large choruses.
Richard Frothingham Jr. was a Massachusetts historian, journalist, and politician. Frothingham was a proprietor and managing editor of The Boston Post. He also served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and as the second mayor of Charlestown, Massachusetts, United States.
Ephraim Peabody was a Unitarian clergyman from the United States.
Sebastian Bach Mills was a noted English pianist, composer and piano instructor who made his concert career in the United States and gave the first American performances of many important works.
The Arion Society was a German-American musical society. It was founded in January 1854 to promote "the perpetuation of love for some of the characteristic elements of German civilization". It was disbanded because of Anti-German sentiment following World War I.