Schmitz, E. Robert (Elie Robert), 1889-1949

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First performance by the composer.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Concerto no. 1 / E. Robert Schmitz. [19--] (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54113593

Elie Robert Schmitz was born in Paris on February 8, 1889. As a boy he sang in a choir at the Church of the Assumption. When he was seventeen, he went on to the Paris Conservatory, where he studied violin, solfège, and ensemble music. His studies were interrupted in 1909, when he toured the United States as an accompanist and coach to the celebrated singers Emma Eames, Maggie Teyte, and Leo Slezak. Schmitz returned to the Conservatory in 1910 and received first prize in piano.

From 1911 to 1914 Schmitz and his wife, Germaine, whom he married on July 1, 1912, directed the Association Musicale Moderne et Artistique. This organization, which included an orchestra, chorus, vocal octet, woodwind ensemble, and string quartet, drew the attention of Camille Saint-Saëns and Vincent D'Indy, among others. In 1914 the Association changed its name to the Association de Concerts Schmitz and grew to include a full orchestra and a 150-member chorus. The Association was responsible for many first performances, including Debussy's Première rhapsodie for clarinet and orchestra, Roussel's Evocations, Le Flem's Crépuscules d'amour, and Milhaud's Suite Symphonique . Schmitz also introduced a series of lecture-recitals entitled "The Musical Geography." These programs concentrated on the music of a particular country, from its folk origins to contemporary composers, with a chamber group performing the music.

Schmitz's concert career flourished; in 1912 he toured Holland and Belgium for three months. He knew all of Debussy's piano works and performed them often. He also coached and accompanied David Devries and Maggie Teyte (who sang the title roles in Pelléas and Mélisande ) for Debussy in their performances of the composer's works.

World War I brought a sudden halt to Schmitz's career. He spent three years at the front, served at the Battle of Verdun, received a shrapnel wound in his left hand, and had eight months of hospitalization for gassing and fatigue. Schmitz's understanding and theory of piano technique originated from his war experience: discussions he had with comrades who were scientists and from his observations of ballistics, mechanics, and acoustics. After the war he went on to study physiology. Schmitz put forth his ideas about piano technique in his book The Capture of Inspiration (1935), which was voted one of the "fifty books of the year" for 1936.

Schmitz reestablished his musical career in the United States after his arrival in New York in 1918. He performed works by the contemporary composers Carpenter, Schoenberg, Ravel, Prokofiev, Milhaud, Honegger, and de Falla. In 1920, Schmitz and Thomas Edison collaborated in making recordings at Edison's New Jersey laboratories. These recordings are now treasured by collectors.

It was also in 1920 that Robert and Germaine Schmitz founded the Franco-American Society, which in 1923 was renamed Pro-Musica, Incorporated. Seeking to promote new music, the Society offered concerts, lecture-recitals, and publications through its forty international chapters. Thanks to the Schmitzes' entrepreneurship, fund-raising, research, and wide musical contacts, the Society was able to sponsor the first American appearances of Ravel, Bartók, and Respighi, as well as concerts and lectures by Hindemith, Schoenberg, Honegger, Milhaud, Roussel, Tansman, Prokofiev and his wife, Lina Llubera, Casella, Bliss, Tailleferre, Schmitt, Kodály, Stravinsky, Webern, Tcherepnin, Toch, Boulanger, Salzedo, Barrère, Eichheim, and the Pro Arte Quartet. Pro-Musica also sent the American composers Marion Bauer, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, and Louis Gruenberg to their Paris chapter and the tenor Roland Hayes to Moscow and Leningrad. They established an International Advisory Board, which included Alban Berg and Egon Wellesz, and in 1923 began a series of International Referendum Concerts. Schmitz toured Europe and the United States performing, lecturing, teaching, and taking care of chapter business. On these tours, Robert and Germaine Schmitz would research local concert history, trying to bring a good balance of old and new in each location.

After Pro-Musica's dissolution in 1936, Schmitz continued to promote new music. He performed, recorded, wrote, edited music, and taught. The E. Robert Schmitz School was established in San Francisco in 1945, and offered a Debussy Prize for pianists. Schmitz died in San Francisco on September 5, 1949.

From the guide to the E. Robert Schmitz Papers, 1909-1991 (inclusive), (Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Serge Koussevitzky Archive, 1920-1976, (bulk 1924-1951) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn The Charles Ives Papers, 1874-1983 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn Perlis, Vivian. The Vivian Perlis Collection of Schmitz, Ornstein, Copland, and Kirkpatrick, 1914-2002. Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf E. Robert Schmitz Papers, 1909-1991 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
creatorOf Schmitz, E. Robert (Elie Robert), 1889-1949. Concerto no. 1 / E. Robert Schmitz. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library
referencedIn E. Robert Schmitz Papers, 1909-1991 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn The Vivian Perlis Collection of Schmitz, Ornstein, Copland, and Kirkpatrick, 1914-2002 Irving S. Gilmore Music Library
referencedIn Ives, Charles, 1874-1954. The Charles Ives papers, 1874-1983 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Nicolas Slonimsky Collection, 1873-1997, (bulk 1920-1990) Music Division Library of Congress
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Antheil, George, 1900-1959 person
associatedWith Auric, Georges, 1899- person
associatedWith Barraud, Henry, 1900- person
associatedWith Bartók, Béla, 1881-1945 person
associatedWith Barzin, Leon. person
associatedWith Beliaev, V. (Viktor), 1888-1968 person
associatedWith Berg, Alban, 1885-1935 person
associatedWith Bernstein, Leonard, 1918- person
associatedWith Bliss, Arthur, Sir, 1891-1975 person
associatedWith Bloch, Ernst, 1885-1977 person
associatedWith Brailowsky, Alexander, 1896-1976 person
associatedWith Brott, Alexander, 1915- person
associatedWith Calvocoressi, M. D. (Michel D.), 1877-1944 person
associatedWith Carpenter, John Alden, 1876-1951 person
associatedWith Casals, Pablo, 1876-1973 person
associatedWith Casella, Alfredo, 1883-1947 person
associatedWith Champagne, Claude, 1891-1965 person
associatedWith Chávez, Carlos, 1899- person
associatedWith Chevillard, Camille. person
associatedWith Coolidge, Elizabeth Sprague, 1864-1953 person
associatedWith Copland, Aaron, 1900- person
associatedWith Coulthard, Jean, 1908- person
associatedWith Damrosch, Walter, 1862-1950 person
associatedWith Debussy, Claude, 1862-1918 person
associatedWith Defauw, Désiré, 1885-1960 person
associatedWith Dello Joio, Norman, 1913- person
associatedWith Dubois, Théodore, 1837-1924 person
associatedWith Durand, Jacques, 1865-1928 person
associatedWith Edison, Thomas A. (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931 person
associatedWith Enesco, Georges, 1881-1955 person
associatedWith E. Robert Schmitz person
associatedWith Falla, Manuel de, 1876-1946 person
associatedWith Fauré, Gabriel, 1845-1924 person
associatedWith Frankenstein, Alfred Victor, 1906- person
associatedWith Garden, Mary, 1874-1967 person
associatedWith Gaubert, Philippe, 1879-1941 person
associatedWith Gédalge, André, 1856-1926 person
associatedWith Golschmann, Vladimir, 1893-1972 person
associatedWith Goossens, Eugene, Sir, 1893-1962 person
associatedWith Grainger, Percy, 1882-1961 person
associatedWith Hanson, Howard, 1896- person
associatedWith Harris, Roy, 1898- person
associatedWith Harsányi, Tibor, 1898-1954 person
associatedWith Haubiel, Charles, 1892-1978 person
associatedWith Henriot, Nicole, 1925- person
associatedWith Hoérée, Arthur. person
associatedWith Honegger, Arthur, 1892-1955 person
associatedWith Huré, Jean, 1877-1930 person
associatedWith Hurok, Sol, 1888-1974 person
associatedWith Indy, Vincent d', 1851-1931 person
associatedWith Ives, Charles, 1874-1954. person
associatedWith Jean-Aubry, G. (Georges), 1882-1950 person
associatedWith Johnson, Lockrem, 1924-1977 person
associatedWith Johnson, Thor. person
associatedWith Judson, Arthur, 1881-1975 person
associatedWith Kodály, Zoltán, 1882-1967 person
associatedWith Korngold, Erich Wolfgang, 1897-1957 person
correspondedWith Koussevitzky, Serge, 1874-1951 person
associatedWith Krenek, Ernst, 1900- person
associatedWith Kurtz, Erfem, 1900- person
associatedWith Labunski, Felix, 1892-1979 person
associatedWith Lawrence, Marjorie. person
associatedWith Lévi-Strauss, Claude. person
associatedWith MacDowell, Marian, 1857-1956 person
associatedWith MacMillan, Ernest, Sir, 1893-1973 person
associatedWith Malipiero, Gian Francesco, 1882-1973 person
associatedWith Markevitch, Igor, 1912-1983 person
associatedWith Martenot, Maurice, b. 1898 person
associatedWith Massenet, Jules, 1842-1912 person
associatedWith Mengelberg, Willem, 1871-1951 person
associatedWith Messager, André, 1853-1929 person
associatedWith Milhaud, Darius, 1892-1974 person
associatedWith Monteux, Pierre, 1875-1964 person
associatedWith Morris, Harold, 1890-1964 person
associatedWith Nordoff, Paul, 1909- person
associatedWith Ormandy, Eugene, 1899-1985 person
associatedWith Pentland, Barbara, 1912- person
associatedWith Perlis, Vivian. person
associatedWith Pierné, Gabriel, 1863-1937 person
associatedWith Pijper, Willem, 1894-1947 person
associatedWith Pinto, Octavio, 1890-1950 person
associatedWith Piston, Walter, 1894-1976 person
associatedWith Pons, Lily, 1898-1976 person
associatedWith Prokofiev, Sergey, 1891-1953 person
associatedWith Rathaus, Karol, 1895-1954 person
associatedWith Ravel, Maurice, 1875-1937 person
associatedWith Reiner, Fritz, 1888-1963 person
associatedWith Reti, Rudolph, 1885-1957 person
associatedWith Riegger, Wallingford, 1885-1961 person
associatedWith Rieti, Vittorio, 1898- person
associatedWith Rodzinski, Artur, 1892-1958 person
associatedWith Ropartz, Joseph Guy Marie, 1864-1955 person
associatedWith Rosenthal, Manuel, 1904- person
associatedWith Roussel, Albert, 1869-1937 person
associatedWith Rudhyar, Dane, 1895- person
associatedWith Saint-Saëns, Camille, 1835-1921 person
associatedWith Salzedo, Carlos, 1885-1961 person
associatedWith Schmitt, Florent, 1870-1958 person
associatedWith Schmitz, Germaine. person
associatedWith Schoenberg, Arnold, 1874-1951 person
associatedWith Sevitzky, Fabien, 1891-1967 person
correspondedWith Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894-1995 person
associatedWith Sowerby, Leo, 1895-1968 person
associatedWith Steinberg, William, 1899-1978 person
associatedWith Stevens, Halsey, 1908- person
associatedWith Still, William Grant, 1895- person
associatedWith Stock, Frederick, 1872-1942 person
associatedWith Stokowski, Leopold, 1882-1977 person
associatedWith Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971 person
associatedWith Szymanowski, Karol, 1882-1937 person
associatedWith Tailleferre, Germaine, 1892-1983 person
associatedWith Talma, Louise, 1906- person
associatedWith Tansman, Alexandre, 1897- person
associatedWith Tcherepnin, Alexander, 1899-1977 person
associatedWith Thomson, Virgil, 1896- person
associatedWith Tibbett, Lawrence, 1896-1960 person
associatedWith Toch, Ernst, 1887-1964 person
associatedWith Turner, Godfrey, 1913-1948 person
associatedWith Varèse, Edgard, 1883-1965 person
associatedWith Walter, Bruno, 1876-1962 person
associatedWith Wolff, Albert, 1884-1970 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Franco--American Musical Society
Concertos (Piano)--Scores and parts
Pro Musica (Society)
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1889-02-08

Death 1949-09-05

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