Theodor and Emma Hemberger scores
- approximately 1890-1950
- Hemberger, Theodor, 1871-1956 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
5.49 Cubic Feet (17 medium flat boxes)
Biographical / Historical
While on tour in 1893, Hemberger met American singer Emma Conrad. He followed her back to America that same year and settled in her home town of Scranton, Pennsylvania. They were married the following year and had two sons (Armin, a medical illustrator at Yale, and Siegfried, a professional cellist). While in Scranton, Theodor founded the Scranton Symphony Orchestra (1894), played in a professional string quartet, and directed several singing societies.
In 1903, Theodor Hemberger came to Baltimore to become director of the Germania Männerchor, one of the oldest German singing societies in the country (founded 1856), which he directed for many years. He also wrote a number of pieces for the Männerchor and its Damenchor, made up of the members of the organization's Ladies Auxiliary.
Theodor Hemberger became a well-known figure on the Baltimore musical scene through a number of varied activities. From 1910 to 1915 he taught violin at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. After the demise of the Germania Männerchor (whose name was changed to the Metropolitan Club during World War II) around 1929, he continued to conduct choral groups for many years, among them the United Singers of Baltimore, the Harmonie Gesangverein, the Frohsinn, and the choir of the Zion Lutheran Church, one of the oldest and most famous German choirs in the United States. From about 1904 to the club's disbanding in 1950, he was active both as a composer and performer in H. L. Mencken's Saturday Night Club. After leaving Peabody, he continued to teach privately, and throughout his life composed many pieces in a variety of idioms. His Symphony in E-flat was performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 1925. He died in Baltimore at the age of 85 on February 15, 1956.
Emma Hemberger was born Emma Conrad in Pottsville, Penn., in 1867, the daughter of a wealthy businessman. Her musical talents showed themselves at an early age. At the age of 14 she went to Germany to study piano at the Royal Conservatory at Stuttgart. While there, she also began voice training and her voice developed to such an extent that in 1890 she signed a contract with the Strasburg Municipal Theatre and became its leading soprano. In 1893 she met Theodor Hemberger, and when her father discovered this possible setback to her career, he ordered her home to Scranton, where her family had moved. Hemberger followed her there and in 1894 they were married. After marrying, Emma gave up her solo career but remained active musically, acting as her husband's accompanist and occasionally appearing with him in concerts. She composed a number of pieces, mostly for children, but is best known for composing the music for the municipal prize anthem "Baltimore, Our Baltimore" in 1916. She died in July 1941.