Claassen, Arthur


He stands pre-eminent in the United States among conductors of malechorus singing societies, being at present the conductor of the Arion Singing Society of Brooklyn, N. Y. He was born at Stargard, Prussia, and studied at Weimar under MüllerHartung and other well-known teachers. He came to America upon the recommendation of Dr. Leopold Damrosch in 1884, to become conductor of the Eichenkranz Society, holding this post for a number of years. In 1890 he was made conductor of the Arion Singing Society of Brooklyn, one of the leading organizations of its kind in this country. Claassen also became conductor of the Liederkranz Society of New York, as successor to Heinrich Zoellner, and he has also acted as conductor at various theatres in Germany The Arion Society under Mr. Claassen won first prize at the Newark, New York, and Baltimore Saengerfests and at the World's Fairs at Chicago and at St. Louis. It is to tour Germany the summer of 1908. Mr. Claassen has also been festival conductor, in addition to his other duties, of the New York, Brooklyn and Philadelphia Saengerfests. His compositions attracted the attention of Liszt while Claassen was a student at Weimar and the great master gave him every encouragement. He has written much for the malechorus; made many beautiful adaptations; composed a number of symphonic poems for orchestra; a mass and many songs and piano pieces. Under his baton have been given such important works as Wagner's Lovefeast of the Apostles; music to Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream; CEdipus in Colonos; Antigone; and Bruch's Frithjof, also a number of noted German operas. Mr. Claassen was accorded a special audience with the Emperor of Germany, in 1900, in recognition of his services on behalf of the German Maennergesang in America. He is an honorary member of many of the societies of Germany and other cities in Europe as well as being highly regarded as a conductor in the United States.