Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Eisfeld, Theodore

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EISFELD, Theodore, musician, b. in Wolfenbüttel, Brunswick, Germany, in 1816; d. in Wiesbaden, 16 Sept., 1882. His chief instructor in musical composition was C. G. Reissiger, of Dresden. He came to New York in 1848, and in 1849 was chosen conductor of the Philharmonic society in that city. From 1855 till the season of 1865-'6, when he resigned, he conducted the society alternately with Carl Bergmann. On 18 Feb., 1851, he began a series of quartet concerts, the first being given on the date mentioned at Hope chapel. On his return trip from a visit to Europe in 1858, he was one of the few survivors of the burning of the steamer “Austria.” He was lashed to a platform and so drifted on the ocean, without food, for nearly two days and nights. Eisfeld never recovered from this extraordinary prostration. He returned to Germany in 1866, and remained there till his death. He was also the first conductor of the New York harmonic society, which began the custom of giving an annual Christmas performance of the “Messiah.”