Macmillen, Francis



Young American violinist, who during the past three years has taken a prominent place in the musical world. Was born in Marietta, Ohio. His mother was a musician of ability, and has devoted herself to her son's musical education. His remarkable talent was awakened during his fourth year, when he demanded a violin, and was soon in possession of an instrument which cost a dollar and a half. About this time the family moved to Springfield, Ohio, where their next door neighbor was a violin-teacher, Mr. Robert Brain, who undertook to give the little boy lessons. The Christmas after his fifth birthday he played the overture from the Caliph of Bagdad in public with great success. He was taken immediately to Chicago and placed under the tutelage of Bernard Listeman of the Chicago Musical College, at the same time studying piano under Fraulein Clara Krause. He displayed equal talent for this instrument, and is today a proficient performer on it. When only seven he performed with orchestra at the old Schiller Theatre in Chicago. At the age of eight Macmillen was taken to Germany, where he became the pupil of Herr Karl Markees in Berlin. From Herr Markees he passed to Herr Kalir, remaining in Berlin until he was thirteen years old, then entering the Brussels Conservatory, where he became a pupil of Cesar Thomson. When fifteen he won second prize with great distinction at the annual concour, and the following year was declared laureate of the Conservatory and given the first prize with the greatest distinction, together with the Van Hal cash prize of five thousand francs. These awards marked the first time in the history of the Conservatory that such honors had been given an American. In the autumn of 1902 he made his debut in the celebrated Vauxhall of Brussels, achieving instant success. This was followed by tours through Belgium and Germany and two tours of England, where he was enthusiastically received. Lady Palmer, wife of Sir Walter Palmer, M. P., presented him with an eight-thousand-dollar Stradivarius violin. Macmillen's American debut occurred at Carnegie Hall, Dec. 7, 1906, on which occasion he was assisted by the New York Symphony Orchestra, Walter Damrosch conducting. This was followed by a tour of ninety-eight concerts, which took him through the east and middle west. In the summer of 1907 he returned to London, where he gave three recitals, assisted by the Queen's Hall Orchestra under Henry T. Wood. His tour of 1907-1908 includes one hundred and sixty concerts through the east, south and middle west in the United States. Tours of Russia, Germany and England have been planned for the next two years. Although only twenty-two years old, Macmillen has played as soloist with many great orchestras of the world, including the Theodore Thomas Orchestra of Chicago.