The Sound and SIlence of the German American Apollo: The Musical Score of Eugen Klee and the Kaiser Prize

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Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies






The article introduces the Kaiser Prize—the most coveted award in the German American world of Lieder—and the man who won it twice, Eugen Klee. Klee arrived in Philadelphia in the 1890s and quickly established himself as the preeminent German choirmaster in the country—a true German American Apollo. In 1912 Klee won the Kaiser Prize and started a brief collaboration with Leopold Stokowski. In 1915 Klee won the Kaiser Prize again. Given that this second victory came during the First World War—and within three weeks of the sinking of the Lusitania—Klee had to content himself with a photograph of the prize. The actual prize did not arrive in America until 1927, by which time Klee’s life—like the music he conducted—was tracing a perdendo in America. In Eugen Klee’s personal story one hears the sound and silence within the score of German cultural influence in America.