Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Seidl, Anton

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SEIDL, Anton, musician, b. at Pesth, Hungary, 6 May, 1850; d. in New York city, 28 March, 1898. He began the study of music at a very early age, and when only seven years old could pick out at the piano melodies which he had heard at the theatre. At fifteen he became a student of harmony in counterpoint under Nicolitsch at the Hungarian national musical academy, of which Liszt was director. He attended the normal school at Pesth for three years, the gymnasium eight years, and afterward entered the university, where he remained for two years, during which time he sang and played in several public concerts. At sixteen years of age he evinced a decided penchant for the priesthood, but his love for music prevailed, and in 1870 he entered the conservatory at Leipsic, and in 1872, despite the opposition in Germany to the revolutionary character of Wagner's music, he went to Richter, who soon perceived his strong bent for conducting. From 1872 to 1878 Seidl resided in Bayreuth with Wagner, who treated him as one of the chosen few and sent him to Vienna for the express purpose of placing “Siegfried” and “Goetterdämmerung” on the stage. In 1879 the young musician became conductor of the Leipsic opera-house, and in May, 1881, he introduced for the first time at the Victoria theatre, Berlin, the complete “Nibelungen Trilogy.” Upon the death of Dr. Leopold Damrosch, in 1885, Seidl was summoned to take charge of the Metropolitan opera-house in New York, whither his wife, Fräulein Krauss, the “young dramatic soprano,” had preceded him. Here he became the idol of the Wagnerites, and was selected as the director of the permanent orchestra of New York city, for the maintenance of which $100,000 was raised by subscription.