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Soon after their marriage, the couple set sail for the United States. Therese had been engaged by the Metropolitan Opera to sing the title role in the American première of Aida (in German). Victor was the orchestra's principal 'cellist.

He immediately began to play an active role in New York's musical life as a 'cello soloist, and member of the New York String Quartet. He gave many concerts, including the American premiere of Brahms's Double Concerto with the violinist Max Bendix, in 1889.

The previous year 1888 had seen him directing summer concerts at Brighton Beach, assistant conductor to Anton Seidl. Over the years he directed many such occasions and summer festivals. His programme mixture of lighter music with the more standard repertoire set the style for the future Victor Herbert Orchestra.

He had succeeded Patrick Gilmore in 1893 as the musical director of the famous 22nd Regiment Band of the New York National Guard, with which he toured extensively. They gave many performances of original arrangements from his operetta material.

Victor Herbert was appointed to the faculty of the new National Conservatory of Music, in 1889. Three years later, Dvorák came from Prague to be its principal. Herbert's compositions at this time were concert works that culminated in the Second 'Cello Concerto, Opus 30 (1894), which he premièred as soloist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Anton Seidl.

This was the same year in which he composed the first of his operettas, Prince Ananias. By the dawn of the twentieth century, he had achieved considerable success with The Serenade (1897), and The Fortune Teller (1898).

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Copyright © 22 March 2002 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland





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