August 4, 1917
Page 1

American Symphony of Chicago to Lose Twenty of Its Players—Berkshire Quartet Member Is Drawn—Peabody Conservatory of Baltimore Loses Faculty Artists—St. Louis Orchestra Gives a Dozen Men—Leading Magazines Indorse Movement to Conserve Art and Provide for Best Utility of Artists

UNLESS steps are taken to provide special duties for those young men of the musical profession who have been drafted into military service, the United States army on the battle front in Europe will include a large quota of musicians. Reports from various musical centers tell of threatened demoralization of orchestras and other organizations, artists of prominence are about to be conscripted and others have already enlisted as soldiers. The reports are of course incomplete as yet, but there is every indication that further details will only verify the predictions. Publications of high standing like the Literary Digest, The Musical Observer, the New York Sun and numerous newspapers have carried sympathetic accounts of the movement, launched by MUSICAL AMERICA on July 7, to conserve musical art and provide for the proper utilization of musicians in the war.
A War Council of Musicians is yet to be organized.
In New York it is impossible as yet to tell of the effect of the draft, as the actual conscripting is only beginning this week. David Hochstein, violinist, has drawn an early number. Francis Macmillan, violinist, has enlisted. Albert Spalding, violinist, has drawn an early number, and Edward Bernays, press representative of the Metropolitan Musical Bureau, has been summoned in the draft.
Mr. Hochstein’s number is 183 in District 129, New York City.
Gustave Schirmer of G. Schirmer & Sons, music publishers, is 179 in the same district.
Pietro A. Yon, organist, is a candidate for khaki.
Donald McBeath, the Australian violinist, and assisting artist with John McCormack, made several efforts in the last few weeks to enlist either in the English or American forces, but was rejected because of physical disability. Manager Charles L. Wagner declared that Mr. McBeath would again be the assisting artist for Mr. McCormack next season.
The American Symphony Orchestra of Chicago has been hard hit by conscription. This orchestra was formed several years ago to present new and little-known orchestral works by American composers, and its ten weeks’ season of orchestral music, played at popular prices, is one of the most important events of the Chicago musical season.
Twenty Members of Orchestra Drawn
“Of the fifty members in the orchestra twenty have been called in the first draft,” says Glenn Dillard Gunn, the conductor. “Some of these will doubtless claim exemption, because they have wives or mothers dependent on them, but most of those called expect to be at the front in France before many months. The orchestra will not disband, however, because in these times an all-American orchestra is a crying musical need. We are hard hit by the draft, but we are not complaining, nor are the men complaining. They consider it an honor to be called to the colors. Our first flutist, Anthony Linden, and our first ‘cellist, Richard Wagner, are among those called.”
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is not affected by the first draft, but if a second call is issued, several members will be affected.
Stanley K. Faye, for several years the music critic of the Chicago Daily News, was among the first numbers drawn in the national army draft. He has made all arrangements to leave for training camp when the date for mobilization is announced. His successor as music critic has not been chosen.
In the Chicago Musical College only one member of the faculty, Rudolph Reuter, has been called, according to Manager Carl D. Kinsey. Rudolph Reuter is a pianist and teacher. He will claim exemption. Although of German ancestry, he was born in this country. None of the faculty of the American Conservatory has been called as yet. Earl Eldred, violinist and member of the Bush Conservatory faculty, has been summoned, and other members of the faculty expect to be called for physical examination within a few days.
Herman Felber, Jr., second violin in the Berkshire String Quartet, has been drafted into the first expeditionary force of the new conscript army. For years he was one of the first violins of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Kortschak String Quartet. Last year, when the Kortschak Quartet was reorganized and endowed under the name of the Berkshire String Quartet, Felber left the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and went east with the chamber music organization. His father is Herman Felber, Sr., cellist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Other Cities May Suffer
More One of the reasons why the musical life of Chicago has not been more seriously interrupted by the draft is the large number of German and Austrian musicians in this city, for Chicago ranks as the sixth German city in the world, it is said. Among the musicians the proportion of Germans to native Americans is considerably larger than in other occupations. This disproportion does not apply, however, in the American Symphony Orchestra, whose membership is entirely American except for one French woodwind player and two German horns. Therefore, it is to be assumed that other cities will be more deeply affected by the draft than other cities of less alien population. Under the pending Chamberlain Bill it must be remembered all aliens would be conscripted.
Baltimore Composers Called
The representative conservatory of Baltimore is drawn upon by the conscripting of George F. Boyle, pianist-composer, and Otto R. Ortmann, pianist-composer and music critic of The Correspondent, both being members of the teaching staff of the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Among others who are listed is Ferdinand Keuhn, composer-pianist. George F. Boyle, though by birth an Australian, has become a citizen and is a stanch American.
Otto Ortmann has been active in musico-psychological researches. Ferdinand Keuhn, the youngest of the Baltimore composers drafted, has to his credit many songs, piano and instrumental ·numbers. The correspondent was unable to obtain information as to how the draft would affect the personnel of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as the new membership list was unavailable.
Effect on St. Louis
Conscription has taken many of the younger musicians of St. Louis, but it will probably not seriously affect any of the important musical organizations. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will perhaps lose about a dozen, most of the more important musicians being above draft age. However, enlistment has taken several, and this will probably affect some of the musical events. Charles Allan Cale, assistant manager of the symphony, has enlisted as bandmaster of the newly organized Fifth Regiment, and Manager Gaines has been called for the draft, but, no doubt, will become exempt as will a number of other younger members of the orchestra.
Commission on Training Camp Activities Suggests That This Publication Become a Clearing House for Data Relating to Musical Resources of the. Country Which May Be Employed by the Government—Military Experts Agree on Importance of Music in Camps as an Agency to Improve the Morale of the Soldiers.
THE War Department, through its Commission on Training Camp Activities, has accepted the offer made to it by MUSICAL AMERICA to co-operate with the government officials in the matter of facilitating the employment of this country’s vast musical resources to help with the war.
The place of music in the army activities as a means of promoting the enthusiasm and morale of the men is now fully recognized. Military experts agree that mass singing has accomplished as much as, if not more than, athletic games in this respect.
MUSICAL AMERICA’S offer to Lee F. Hanmer, who in an interview on page 3 of this week’s issue gives the details of the problems and accomplishments of the Commission on Training Camp Activities, was accepted in the following letter:
Commission on Training Camp Activities Washington, D. C., July 28, 1917.
To the Editor of “Musical America”: The offer of “Musical America” to co-operate with the War Department Commission on Training Camp Activities by placing before the musical public of the United States the needs and achievements of the movement to provide our soldiers with healthful, inspiriting recreation, especially music, is gratefully accepted. In this important work we need the cooperation of the musical profession. If “Musical America” could make itself a clearing house for data relating to the musical resources of the country which might be called upon to be of service to the government, it would be most helpful. Very truly yours, LEE F. HANMER


Search Musical America's archive of photos from 1900-1992.