Frantz, Dalies Erhardt (1908–1965)

By: Kent Kennan

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: January 1, 1995

Dalies Erhardt Frantz, pianist and teacher, was born on January 9, 1908, in Lafayette, Colorado. He was the son of William Henry and Amalia (Lueck) Frantz. He grew up in Denver, where he studied piano at an early age and became known as a child prodigy. Later he learned to play the organ and helped support himself by serving as organist and choirmaster in churches. He studied at Huntington Preparatory School in Boston and under Guy Maier at the University of Michigan from 1926 to 1930. He received the bachelor of music degree with highest honors from that university; subsequently, he studied in Europe with Artur Schnabel and Vladimir Horowitz.

Following his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski in 1934, Frantz was signed by Columbia Concerts Corporation and began a long and brilliant career that took him from coast to coast in recitals and in appearances with most of the major orchestras in the United States. During this period he also taught two summer sessions at the University of Washington in Seattle and returned for further study at the University of Michigan. In 1934 he married Martha King of Detroit. They were separated five years later.

Frantz's eminence as a pianist attracted attention in Hollywood, and he appeared in several motion pictures, including Sweethearts (1938) and I Take This Woman (1940). During World War II he served for a time as an intelligence officer in a West Coast fighter squadron but was given a medical discharge before the end of the war. In 1943 he joined the University of Texas music department. In spite of physical misfortunes that continued to plague him, he pursued his teaching until the time of his death and was recognized as one of the outstanding music teachers in the country. He inspired a large number of student pianists, some of whom won national and international acclaim; well-known professional pianists went to Austin to work with him. Some of his experiences and convictions about piano teaching were passed on to music teachers all over the United States through a series of articles in a publication of the National Piano Guild. Frantz died in Austin on December 1, 1965, and was buried at Capital Memorial Gardens, Austin.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Education
  • Educators
  • Music and Drama
  • Music
  • Genres (Classical)

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

Kent Kennan, “Frantz, Dalies Erhardt,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

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