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KREISSIG, HANS

KREISSIG, HANS (1856–1929). Hans Kreissig, pianist, music teacher, and conductor, was born in Germany in 1856. After training in England, Kreissig toured the Continent as piano accompanist of cornetist Jules Levy. At Christmas 1883 he traveled to Dallas with a touring London opera company, and in the spring of 1884 he established himself there as a teacher of piano and organ. For a time he directed choirs in Jewish synagogues and Catholic churches; his major secular conducting assignment was a male chorus, the Dallas Frohsinn. In December 1886 the Frohsinn offered Kreissig thirty dollars a month and a guarantee of twelve private students if he would remain in Dallas as conductor. He married a woman from the Dallas French colony, and the couple had at least one child.

In a concert in October 1887 Kreissig conducted the Frohsinn in Act I of Gounod's Faust, with Henry J. Frees at the piano. More elaborate instrumental music began to appear occasionally in Kreissig's concerts, with the new Dallas band featured at the winter 1887–88 offering. The chorus and its soloists were joined by an orchestra during a concert of March 1892 in which Kreissig conducted works by Franz von SuppĂ©, Brahms, and others. A piano soloist played a march by Joachim Raff and a sonata by Beethoven. Eight years later, in May 1900, the orchestral movement had become strong enough in Dallas that Kreissig could form the first Dallas Symphony Orchestra, even though the Frohsinn performed in the new orchestra's first concert as well.

An ardent promoter of the arts, Kreissig trod the streets of Dallas, going from merchant to merchant and soliciting funds for his current musical projects, few of which, however, survived more than four or five seasons. In addition to the orchestra, he founded the Beethoven Trio and a slightly larger chamber group, the Phoenix Club. His longest association was with the Frohsinn; he remained its conductor, except for brief periods, until 1912. Over the years he took the chorus to singing festivals in San Antonio (1887), Houston (1902), Galveston (1909), and Austin (1911). After this period Kreissig virtually retired from public life and concentrated on piano teaching. He died in Dallas on December 28, 1929.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Theodore Albrecht, German Singing Societies in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, North Texas State University, 1975). Lilla Jean Brown, Music in the History of Dallas, Texas, 1841–1900 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1947).

Theodore Albrecht

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Theodore Albrecht, "KREISSIG, HANS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fkr03), accessed April 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 24, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.