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Theodor and Emma Hemberger scores

 Collection
Identifier: PIMS-0080
Theodor (Theodore) Hemberger was a German-born violinist, conductor, and composer who directed the Germania Männerchor and performed with H.L. Mencken in the Saturday Night Club. His wife, Emma Conrad Hemberger, was a singer and the composer of the anthem "Baltimore, Our Baltimore." The collection consists primarily of manuscript scores of Theodor's original works and arrangements for orchestra, voice, and chamber ensemble. Also included are manuscripts of Emma's music.

Dates

  • approximately 1890-1950

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for use at the Peabody Archives. Contact peabodyarchives@lists.jhu.edu for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or perform materials in this collection must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library.

Extent

5.49 Cubic Feet (17 medium flat boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Theodor Hemberger (who often used the name Theodore or Theo throughout his life in the United States) was born in Bruchsal, Germany on April 9, 1871, the son of the founder and director of a music school and singing society in Bruchsal. He wrote his first composition, a duet for violins, at age 10, and received his first musical instruction from his father. Two years later, he went to nearby Karlsruhe Court Orchestra as second concertmaster. At 18, he was sent to Heidelberg by his parents to study law. While there, Joseph Joachim heard his playing and was so impressed that he invited Hemberger to study with him at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. While in Berlin, Hemberger studied music history with Philipp Spitta, composition with Woldemar Bargiel (Clara Schumann's half-brother) and piano with Hirschberg, and also attended a philosophy seminar at the University of Berlin. He directed several singing societies--the Akademischer Gesang-Vereins and the Komponisten-Vereins.

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.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of orchestral works, chamber music, solo piano music, and vocal and choral music, and arrangements by Theodor Hemberger, mostly in manuscript. Also included are several works by his wife, Emma Hemberger; published music written by other composers; and music by other composers transcribed by Theodor Hemberger. The collection also contains two folders of related clippings and concert programs.

Arrangement

Scores are arranged approximately by medium of performance: orchestra, orchestra with solo instrument(s), orchestra with voice(s), chamber music, solo piano, voice with piano or organ, chorus, and Hemberger's arrangements of works by other composers. Box 15 contains scores of works by Emma Hemberger. Box 16 contains scores of works by other composers but transcribed by Theodor Hemberger.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Artificially assembled collection of manuscript and printed scores of Hemberger's music from the Arthur Friedheim Library. Many of the scores were likely donated to the Peabody Conservatory Music Library by Hemberger or his estate.

Processing Information

Processed by Dawn Culbertson in approximately 1981.

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Contact:
Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA