VENTH, CARL (1860–1938). Carl Venth, violinist, composer, and conductor, son of Carl and Fredericka (von Turkowitz) Venth, was born in Cologne, Germany, on February 16, 1860. At the age of sixteen he entered the Cologne Conservatory, where he studied violin with Ferdinand Hiller. In 1878 he studied under Henry Wieniawski in Brussels and became concertmaster at the Flemish Opera House. In 1879 he made his first concert tour through Holland and went to Paris as a concertmaster of the Opera Comique.
Venth arrived in America in 1880 and after a concert tour from Boston to St. Louis became concertmaster at Rudolph Bila's concerts in New York. Venth was a member of the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera House from 1884 to 1888, when he organized the Venth Violin School in Brooklyn. Between 1889 and 1897 he led the Seidl Orchestra and the Euterpe Orchestral Society and organized the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra and the Venth Quartet. On July 13, 1899, in Brooklyn, he married Cathinka Finch, daughter of Andrew Myhr, of Norway. He was concertmaster of the St. Paul Symphonie in 1906 but returned to New York in 1907 to organize the Venth Trio.
In 1908 Venth moved to Texas and served as director of the violin department of Kidd-Key College at Sherman for three years. He decided to stay in Texas for health reasons. In 1912 he directed the Frohsinn Chorus and conducted the Symphony Orchestra at Dallas. He then organized the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and was its first conductor. By 1914 he became dean of the school of fine arts at Texas Woman's College at Fort Worth, where he conducted the choral club and was president of the State Music Teachers' Association. From 1931 to 1938 he was head of the music department of Westmoorland College (later the University of San Antonio). Venth's published music included 100 piano and violin pieces and songs, including Pan, heralded as the first American opera to garner international recognition. He was made an honorary life member of the State Music Teachers' Association and received honorary degrees from the Chicago Musical College and New York College. He died at San Antonio on January 30, 1938.
Fort Worth Star–Telegram, January 30, 1938. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Goldie Capers Smith, The Creative Arts in Texas: A Handbook of Biography (Nashville: Cokesbury, 1926). Carl Venth Papers, Fort Worth Public Library, Fort Worth. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
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