Victor Herbert

~ Person


Victor August Herbert (February 1, 1859 – May 26, 1924) was an Irish-born, German-raised American composer, cellist and conductor. Although Herbert enjoyed important careers as a cello soloist and conductor, he is best known for composing many successful operettas that premiered on Broadway from the 1890s to World War I. He was also prominent among the tin pan alley composers and was later a founder of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). A prolific composer, Herbert produced two operas, a cantata, 43 operettas, incidental music to 10 plays, 31 compositions for orchestra, nine band compositions, nine cello compositions, five violin compositions with piano or orchestra, 22 piano compositions and numerous songs, choral compositions and orchestrations of works by other composers, among other music.

In the early 1880s, Herbert began a career as a cellist in Vienna, Austria, and Stuttgart, Germany, during which he began to compose orchestral music. Herbert and his opera singer wife, Therese Förster, moved to the U.S. in 1886 when both were engaged by the Metropolitan Opera. In the U.S., Herbert continued his performing career, while also teaching at the National Conservatory of Music, conducting and composing. His most notable instrumental compositions were his Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor, Op. 30 (1894), which entered the standard repertoire, and his Auditorium Festival March (1901). He led the Pittsburgh Symphony from 1898 to 1904 and then founded the Victor Herbert Orchestra, which he conducted throughout the rest of his life.

Herbert began to compose operettas in 1894, producing several successes, including The Serenade (1897) and The Fortune Teller (1898). Some of the operettas that he wrote after the turn of the 20th century were even more successful: Babes in Toyland (1903), Mlle. Modiste (1905), The Red Mill (1906), Naughty Marietta (1910), Sweethearts (1913) and Eileen (1917). After World War I, with the change of popular musical tastes, Herbert began to compose musicals and contributed music to other composers' shows. While some of these were well-received, he never again achieved the level of success that he had enjoyed with his most popular operettas.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1975 Music of Victor Herbert Victor Herbert; Beverly Sills, André Kostelanetz, London Symphony Orchestra 5 1
1986 Sullivan: Cello Concerto in D / Herbert: Cello Concerto no. 2 / Elgar: Romance Sullivan, Herbert, Elgar; Julian Lloyd Webber, London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Charles Mackerras 1
1994 Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite / Herbert: Hero and Leander Ferde Grofé, Victor Herbert; Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Lorin Maazel 1
1995 Concertos From the New World Dvořák, Herbert; Yo‐Yo Ma, New York Philharmonic, Kurt Masur 3
1995 Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite / Mississippi Suite / Herbert: Cello Concerto no. 2 Ferde Grofé, Victor Herbert; Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, Howard Hanson, Georges Miquelle 1
1997 Babes in Toyland Victor Herbert 1
1999 Beloved Songs and Classic Miniatures Victor Herbert; Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Keith Brion, Virginia Croskery 1
1999 Babes in Toyland / The Red Mill Victor Herbert; Razumovsky Symphony Orchestra, Keith Brion 1
2000 Columbus Suite / Irish Rhapsody / Auditorium Festival March Victor Herbert; Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), Keith Brion 1
2009 Cello Concertos Dvořák, Herbert; Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi, Gautier Capuçon 1
The Music of Victor Herbert, Volume II Victor Herbert 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2001 Naughty Marietta Victor Herbert; Ohio Light Opera, Steven Byess 1

Album + Soundtrack

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1947 Sweethearts (1947 studio cast) Victor Herbert 4
1954 The Red Mill (1955 studio cast) Victor Herbert 2
1954 Naughty Marietta (1954 studio cast) Victor Herbert 4 3
1955 Naughty Marietta / The Red Mill (1954/1955 studio casts) Victor Herbert 1
2002 Babes in Toyland / The Red Mill (1944 / 1945 studio casts) Victor Herbert 1
2008 The Music of Victor Herbert Victor Herbert 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1928 Medleys From Hebert Operas (Brunswick Concert Orchestra) Victor Herbert 1

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