Price: sold


Two page autographed letter signed in English by the conductor to pianist and professor Olga Samaroff on Ambassador Hotel, Atlantic City, stationary, c. 1935.  We offer with a vintage press photograph of Walter giving a set of record albums to New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia.  They are posed at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic behind them.  Concertmaster John Corigliano Sr. can be seen in his chair.

Walter writes:

My dear Mrs. Samaroff,


             The death of Madame Sembrich brings back to my mind a matter of which I have already spoken to you - if I remember rightly - and which seems to me of a great importance: Professor Dr. Oskar Daniel, the song teacher of the mater class in the Berlin Hochschule für Musik until one year and a half ago, now active in Paris is certainly one of the very few people in this world for whom the mysteries of the resonances of the human voice is just as open and clear as they must have been form the great Italian masters of the past.  His general reputation was really a well-deserved one - most of his pupils even the Nazi's among them, followed him to his present domicile, Paris, where already a new large trove of pupils has formed itself.  He would like to come to this country and I would think it is an immense advantage for the beautiful voices of pupils as well as of already active artists to avail themselves of such an authority and great master of singing like Dr. Daniel.  Daniel is Hungarian, his adress [sic] is: Paris (16) rue Oswaldo Cruz 4. Would you be good enough to convey this expression of my high appreciation of Daniel's unique gifts and mastership to Mr. Erskine and Mr. Hutchinson.  Thanks and warmest greetings. I shall stay here until Friday 18th.


Yours in friendship

Bruno Walter

Walter (1876-1962) was known to assist fellow Jewish musical professionals escape Europe when he could.  The death of legendary soprano Marcella Sembrich in January, 1935 left a voice professorship open at the Juilliard School.  Samaroff, (1880-1948) a former concert pianist and also former wife of conductor Leopold Stokowski was extremely powerful and a Professor of Pianoforte at both Juilliard and the Curtis Institute where she held joint posts.  Walter speaks glowingly of the former lieder tenor, turned voice Professor Oskar Daniel (1879-1940) who had been relieved of his position as Chairman of the vocal department at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik in 1933 due to the Nuremburg laws.  He was as beloved as Walter discusses in his letter, having trained via his group teaching methods the likes of many important pupils at the Conservatory including: Maria Cebotari, Margot Hinnenberg-Lefèbre, Herbert Janssen, Götta Ljunberg, Margherita Perras, Erna Sack and Anny v. Stoch among others.  He also taught cabaret singer and film star Marlene Dietrich how to sing!  Originally born in Hungary and Jewish, he had received a law degree from the University of Vienna and also studied singing simultaneously.  He joined the Stadttheater Trier for the 1911-12 season as a resident heldentenor.  Heinz Tietjen thought he would make an excellent singing teacher, so he moved to Berlin in 1913 and opened a singing school with his pianist wife in an 8 room apartment there.  He was appointed Professor at the Hoschule in 1922 and attracted a major following when he arrived there.  He was known for his group masater class format, as he felt it was important for the other pupils to hear each other.  At Easter time in 1933, he left for his Summer home in Lugano, Switzerland and while there was fired by the Nazi’s.  He left for Paris to rebuild his career in 1934 and some of his pupils followed, but money for private lessons was hard to come by.  He made appeals to come to America as evidenced by Walter’s letter, but it did not come to fruition.  He also offered his services to the Paris Opera and was turned away.  He finally left Paris frustrated and returned to Switzerland where he lived on his previous savings and a few pupils who could afford private lessons.  Daniel died in 1940 from leukemia. Three of his sisters and his sister in law were not as fortunate as to escape and lost their lives in the Holocaust.

The other two individuals mentioned in the letter are John Erskine, (1879-1951) composer, pianist and the first President of Juilliard (1928-1937) and Ernest Hutchenson, concert pianist and the Chairman of the Piano Department at Juilliard and later the second President (1937-1945).

A most interesting Walter letter and evidence of his work to help other Jews escape from the clutches of the Nazis.

Text Box: Conductor autographs

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