Herbert, Victor


Orchestra conductor, bandmaster and composer; born in Dublin. He is a grandson of Samuel Lover, the well-known novelist, playwright and composer of characteristic Irish songs. Upon the death of his father his mother took him to Germany, where he received his musical education, beginning his study at the early age of seven years. Was a pupil in the Stuttgart Conservatory and perfected himself on the violoncello. His first important appearance was as first cellist of the Court Orchestra at Stuttgart, and in 1886 he held a similar position with the Metropolitan Orchestra in New York. He has played under Thomas in many American cities, and with Seidl, acting as cellist and associate conductor. In 1890 he was conductor for the Indianapolis Musical Festival, and for several years assistant conductor for the Worcester (Massachusetts) Festivals. Upon the resignation of Gilmore, leader of the famous Twenty-second Regiment band of New York, Herbert was chosen as his successor, but was soon called to Pittsburg as leader of the Pittsburg Orchestra. He undertook the work of counteracting the disintegrating effects of a former conductor, and by his shrewd and sturdy musicianship placed the Pittsburg Orchestra among the first three orchestras of America, Herbert remained with this orchestra from 1898 to 1904, when he returned to New York and founded the Victor Herbert Orchestra, and has since given more time to composition. As an orchestra leader Herbert is one of the most popular and successful in America, esteemed alike by the general public and serious -minded musicians He was chosen star conductor of two successful concerts for the Philharmonic Society of New York. He is the composer of some of the most popular American comic operas of the present time. Among them are The Ameer; Cyrano de Bergerac; The Singing Girl; The Fortune Teller; Babes in Toyland; It Happened in Nordland, and Babette. Other more serious compositions are The Captive, which he wrote for the Worcester Festival, and which has won much praise for its broad dramatic effects and intense emotional themes; a serenade for strings; a symphonic poem, Hero and Leander; a suite, Woodland Fancies; another entitled Columbus. He has adapted and orchestrated Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream and has also written many effective songs after the German style. In 1886 Victor Herbert was married to Therese Foerster, a prima donna.