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Karl Jacob Schneider was born June 15, 1866, in Bubenheim, Germany. His parents intended him to study philology, instead he discovered his love of music, attending the Leipzig Conservatory from 1886-1890. His classes were in composition, counterpoint, conducting, piano, voice, organ, violin music history and Italian. Two of his noted professors were Carl Reinecke and Dr. Salomon Jadassohn. After graduation Karl continued his vocal studies with F. Hintersteiner in Vienna before immigrating to America in 1890. Karl served in the German army as a one-year volunteer, was twice promoted and left after passing the officers' examination, with the qualification of second lieutenant.
Arriving in the United States, Karl lived first in Binghamton, New York, conducting the Gesang Mannerchor. From 1892 to 1895, he was the Director of the Music Department of Peace Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina. Every summer he would return to Europe, visiting music festivals, especially the Bayreuth Festival. Moving to Indianapolis, Indiana in June 1895, he quickly became a prominent musician, baritone, vocal teacher and conductor. He founded the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1896, the first Indianapolis orchestra, which stayed together for 8 years. Karl also served as director of the vocal department of the Metropolitan School of Music and the conductor of the Tabernacle Choral Society. Becoming a naturalized citizen in September 1898, he later married painter Susan Lydia Hayward in June 1900. He was a member of the Portfolio Club from 1898-1905. Between 1900-1910, Karl and Susan continued to travel to Europe, staying from 3 months to 2 years. During prolonged visits, he studied bel canto singing technique with Luigi Vannuccini in Florence, Italy and was the director of the Berlin-Lortzing Opera from 1907-1908, establishing himself as an opera conductor. Karl performed as baritone soloist in many recitals, offering repertoire including female composer Mrs. H.H.A. Beach as early as 1904. Newspapers reported that he introduced the Indianapolis audience to the aria from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.
As a composer, Karl wrote a song cycle of 8 songs for baritone and piano, dedicated to his wife, Susan, which was published by Breitkopf and Härtel/Leipzig, and one song, “Roses,” for contralto, published by Breitkopf and Härtel/New York. Other publishers were C. Dieckmann/Leipzig, publishing “Spielmanns Abschied: “Nun feiere, Fiedel“ “in 1893, and Edward Schuberth & Co/New York, three songs: “The Captive/Falcon,” “The Maid and the Moon,” and “The Minstrel’s Farewell.”
In 1910, the Schneiders moved from Indianapolis to Philadelphia. Karl opened a vocal studio, and served as a conductor for the Forte-nightly male chorus, Treble Clef Club, from 1913-1930, and was a freelance conductor. He continued to perform as a baritone soloist with recitals around the country, and opening a summer teaching studio in Munich. Karl realized that he had much more to offer American vocal students who went to Europe to learn the operatic tradition, than other teachers. He knew all the languages, German, French, Italian and English; and was a trained singer, pianist, and conductor, which made him much more affordable to American students, for he did the work of three separate people; also, the students would not then need to hire a translator, because he would teach them in English. Karl taught in Munich until 1914, and, since he was unable to visit Europe during the war years, purchased Glen Lake Farm in Langhorne, PA for his summer studio in 1917.
The Schneider’s summer travels to Europe kept him connected with prominent musicians of the time, notably, Arthur Friedheim, Victor Herbert, Anton Seidl, Vladimir Pachman, Herman Bishoff, and Richard Strauss. While Karl was serving as President of the Philadelphia Society for Contemporary Music in 1927, the society sponsored Bela Bartok’s first concert in Philadelphia. Karl continued to conduct operas, orchestras and other choruses, often programing music by women composers such as Mrs. H.H.A. Beach and Mabel Daniels, as well as other contemporary music.
After 30 years of teaching, Karl retired in 1940. Until his passing at the age of 90 on November 8, 1955, he lived quietly on his farm in Langhorne with Susan.
Karl Schneider 1913, photo courtesy of the applicant
Leipzig Conservatory of Music, Germany
1886-1890 Student of Carl Reinecke & Salomon Jadassohn.
Studied composition, counterpoint, conducting, piano, voice, organ, violin, music history and Vocal Studies
Connection to Bucks County
Karl Schneider and his wife, artist Susan Hayward Schneider, lived at Glen Lake Farm in Langhorne, from1917 until 1955
It was their summer home from 1917 until 1940,
and then their full-time residence from 1940 until 1955
Karl Schneider taught voice at Glen Lake Farm, from 1917 until 1955.
Conductor (Symphonic, Choral, Opera), Composer, Baritone, Vocal Teacher
Conductor: Gesang Mannerchor-Binghampton, NY, 1890-1892
Director: Music Department of the Peace Institute, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1892-1895
Member of the Portfolio Club, Indianapolis, 1898-05
Conductor/Founder: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, 1896-1904
Vocal Faculty: Metropolitan School of Music, Indianapolis 1897-1910
Conductor: Lortzing Opera, Berlin 1907-1908
Conductor: Treble Clef Club, Philadelphia, 1913-1930
Guest Conductor: Philadelphia Civic Symphony Orchestra
Freelance Conductor: Philadelphia 1910-1940
President, Philadelphia Society for Contemporary Music, 1927 (Sponsored Bartok on his first concert in Philadelphia) Vocal Studio/Teacher: Indianapolis 1896-1910, Philadelphia 1910-1940, Munich 1910-1914, Langhorne, PA 1917-1955
C. Dieckmann/Publisher/Leipzig \Spielmanns
Abschied: “Nun feiere, Fiedel“ 1893
Breitkopf and Hartel, New York
“Roses”, Text Karl Schneider (Contralto)
Breitkopf Hartel, Leipzig
8 Songs for Low Voice with Piano
no. 1. Der gefesselte Strom (The Bound Stream)
Text: Friedrich Hölderlin
no. 2. Mürrisch braust der Eichenwald (The Oak Forest Roars Sullenly)
Text: Nikolaus Lenau
no. 3. Lebt ich wie du (I Live to Love You)
Text: August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben
no. 4. Treue Liebe (Faithful Love)
no. 5. Treunnug (Separation)
no. 6. Die Sonne stieg in’s Meer hinab (The sun descended into the sea)
no. 7. Tief im grünen Frühlingshag (Deep in the Green Spring)
no. 8. Ich Lausche still in dunkler Nacht (I Listen Silently in the Dark Night)
Edward Schuberth & Co., New York
“The Maid and the Moon”
“The Minstrel’s Farewell"