Gardner, Samuel, 1891-1984

Alternative names
Birth 1891-08-25
Death 1984-01-23

Biographical notes:

American composer, violinist, and conductor of Russian birth.

From the description of Autograph letter signed, dated : New York, 11 April [n.y.], to Mr. [Harry Harkness] Flagler, [n.y.] Apr. 11. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270577699

American composer and violinist.

From the description of The Samuel Gardner papers, 1913-1976 (inclusive). (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 702195541

From the description of The Samuel Gardner papers, 1913-1976 (inclusive). (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 122400647

Composed 1924. Received honorable mention in the Musical America contest, 1928. First performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston, April 18, 1930, the composer conducting.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Broadway : an orchestral tone poem : for full orchestra, organ, saxophones, and banjo / Samuel Gardner. [19--]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 51970634


From the description of Reminiscences of Samuel Gardner : oral history, 1975. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122569920

Violinist and composer.

Born in 1891 in Russia, Samuel Gardner moved to the United States at the age of one. He attended school in Rhode Island and, after studying violin and composition, graduated from the New York Institute of Musical Art (now Juilliard). A former member of the Kneisel String Quartet and the Elschuco Trio, Gardner was also a concert soloist and member of the Chicago Symphony. As a composer, he received the Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship and the James Loeb Prize of the Institute of Musical Art, both in 1918. Gardner taught at Juilliard, Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Hartford, and the Atlanta School of Music. He died in January 1984.

From the description of Samuel Gardner music collection, 1918-1985. (University of South Florida). WorldCat record id: 707632697

Samuel Gardner was born August 25, 1891, in Elizavethgrad, Russia, and was brought to the United States at the age of one. His family settled in Providence, Rhode Island, where Gardner attended elementary and high school. From the age of six, he studied violin with Felix Wendelschaefer. He continued his studies in Boston with Charles Martin Loeffler and Felix Winternitz from 1902 to 1908. At the New York Institute of Musical Art (1908-1913), Gardner studied violin with Fritz Kneisel and composition with Percy Goetschius.

Gardner made his New York debut in 1913, played 2nd violin in the Kneisel Quartet from 1914 to 1915, performed with the Chicago Symphony (several times as soloist) in 1915, and toured with the Elshuco Trio in 1916 and 1917. In addition to solo recitals, Gardner appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Stransky and Mengelberg, with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Stokowski, with the St. Louis, Chicago, and Los Angeles Symphonies, and in Germany and Holland. He premiered his own Violin Concerto in 1918 with the Boston Symphony under Monteux.

As a violin teacher, Gardner held appointments at the Institute of Musical Art (now the Juilliard School) from 1924 to 1941. He also taught at Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin, the Hartt School of Music, and the Atlanta School of music. Gardner published a number of pedagogical works which include a method for violin and his Harmonic Thinking school of string playing.

Gardner's conducting appearances included the premiere of his symphonic poem New Russia in 1921 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the first performance of his Broadway (1924) with the Boston Symphony in 1930. From 1938 to 1939, Gardner conducted for the Federal Music Project in New York, and in 1946 he became the first Conductor and Music Director of the Staten Island Symphony.

Gardner received a prize from the Pulitzer Foundation for his Second String Quartet (1918) and an honorary doctorate from the New York College of Music (1939). The composer of many violin works, Gardner was especially renowned for From the Canebrake, which is still a standard encore piece for violinists. He died in New York on January 23, 1984.

From the guide to the The Samuel Gardner Papers, 1913-1976 (inclusive), (Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University)


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  • Music--United States--20th century
  • Composers--Correspondence
  • Sound--Recording and reproducing
  • Music--Manuscripts
  • Composers--Interviews
  • Concertos (Violin)--Scores and parts
  • Variations (String quartet)--Scores and parts
  • Composers--20th century
  • Musicians--Interviews
  • Music--20th century
  • Sound Recordings
  • Symphonic poems--Scores and parts
  • String quartets--Scores and parts
  • Violinists--Correspondence
  • Violin and piano music--Scores and parts


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