Kneisel, Franz


Roumanian violinist; conductor of the well-known Kneisel Quartet. He was born at Bucharest, where his father, a military band leader, was his first teacher. He then studied at the Bucharest Conservatory, from which he was graduated at fifteen with the first prize for violin. He continued his study under Grüm and Hellmesberger at the Vienna Conservatory, winning another first prize for his excellent violin performance, in 1882. He was soon appointed concertmaster of the Hofburg Theatre orchestra and later of the Bilse Orchestra at Berlin. In 1885 he was offered the place of solo violinist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra by Wilhelm Gericke, its conductor, and he remained in this position for eighteen years. In 1886 he founded the Kneisel Quartet, in which the performers were Otto Roth, Louis Svecnski, Alwin Schroeder and himself. This has been his most important work. The quartet is known abroad as well as in America, and has performed in London and in all the larger American cities. Mr. Kneisel acted as leader of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893, assisted with the Worcester Festivals in Massachusetts in 1902 and 1903, and in 1905 became violin instructor in the Institute of Musical Art in New York.