Bohumir Kryl

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Bohumir Kryl
Kryl1908.jpg
Background information
Born (1875-05-02)May 2, 1875
Hořice, Bohemia
Died August 7, 1961(1961-08-07) (aged 86)
Wilmington, New York
Genres Concert band
Occupations Soloist, bandleader, sculptor, financial executive
Instruments Cornet
Years active 1890s – 1950s
Labels Columbia, Edison, Pathe, Victor
Associated acts John Philip Sousa
Notable instruments
Cornet, euphonium, violin

Bohumir Kryl (1875–1961) was a Czech-American financial executive and art collector who is most famous as a cornetist, bandleader, and pioneer recording artist, for both his solo work and as a leader of popular and Bohemian bands. He was one of the major creative figures in the era of American music known as the "Golden Age of the Bands."[1]

Biography[edit]

Bohumir Kryl (originally Bohumír Kryl, and sometimes spelled in the United States as Bohumil) was born in Hořice, Bohemia,[2] near Prague, on 2 May 1875.[3] His first instrument was the violin, which he studied at age 10.[3] While attending school in Hořice he was classmates with Jan Kubelík, with whom he maintained correspondence.[4] He spent time performing both the violin and the cornet for a circus band in Prague.[3][5] He also performed as an aerialist acrobat with the Rentz Circus in Germany,[6] but an accident in 1886 ended this line of work.[2] His father was a sculptor, and Bohumir also studied this art.[2] He emigrated to the United States in 1889,[3][7] paying the fare in part by performing with the ship’s orchestra.[8] Moving to Chicago, English sculptor H.R. Saunders furthered his profession in that area. Bohumir followed Saunders to Indianapolis[1] and was soon employed, along with his brother,[9] as a sculptor by General Lew Wallace and also working on the Soldiers’ and Sailor’s Monument.[2] Simultaneously he joined the When Clothing Company Band, playing the cornet[8] and soloing on this instrument.[2] Before long he was hired by John Philip Sousa, but was fired in 1898 by Sousa because he copied some of the band's music for his own personal use.[10] He then joined Thomas Preston Brooke’s Chicago Marine Band, where he spent the next two years.[2] During this time he studied with Weldon of Chicago’s Second Regiment Band.[2] In 1901 he spent some time with Phinney's United States Band,[11] but he joined the Duss Band permanently that year.[2] This group was based at Madison Square Garden, at $800 per-month and became its assistant conductor in 1903.[8] This band, led by Frederick Innes, was not as well known, but he was hired as soloist, and the heavy touring schedule and two solos per concert gained him wide exposure.[2] His solos would result in requests for multiple encores.[12] Studying bandleaders Creatore and Vessela, he adopted a wild 'lionesque' hairstyle that became his trademark.[2][13] He became acquainted with Joseph Jiran, who owned a Czechoslovakian music store in Chicago. With Jiran’s encouragement, he formed his own band in 1906[2] styled as Kryl’s Bohemian Band by 1910[3] with the Cimera brothers.[14] This group worked for Columbia, Victor, and Zonophone, recording works by such composers as Smetana, Dvorak, and Safranek.[3] He earned the distinction of the first Czech musician to record on phonograph cylinders.[1]

World War I interrupted his professional career, as he was serving in the U.S. Military.[3] Here he attained the rank of Lieutenant and was given the title “Bandmaster of all the Military Camp Bands in the country".[1] Immediately after the war he was touring with his bands, including many appearances on the Chautauqua circuit. This activity continued until he dismantled the band in 1931.[8] From 1926 to 1929 he would spend winters at his mansion in Tarpon Springs, Florida. He built a bandshell on his property and would give numerous concerts each year.[15] Through his compositions and band touring, he became a millionaire by the mid-1920s.[16] He was a victim of an extortion attempt in 1929, but the perpetrator was caught and sentenced to prison.[17] The Great Depression did not affect his personal affluence as much as others, as he was a bank president and a known financier in 1932.[18] He later formed a “Women’s Symphony Orchestra” that featured daughter Josephine on violin and daughter Marie on piano. He also formed and conducted the "Kryl Symphony Orchestra", which featured soloists such as Florian ZaBach[19] and vocalist Mary McCormic.[20] His public musical career ended in the late 1940s, when he had difficulties with the American Federation of Musicians,[2][21] because although his musicians were well taken care of, he did not pay scale.[22] His last groups played popular dance music as well as "heavier classics".[23] Before his musical retirement, he had traveled more than one million miles and soloed more than 12,000 times.[2] His touring included many small towns such as Albany, Oregon and Bend, Oregon, where his orchestra was the first appearance by any symphony orchestra.[24] Aside from the United States, he toured Canada, Cuba, and Mexico with his bands and orchestras[1] and America and Europe with his daughters.[5] He later formed booking agency and a music bureau.[2] An Honorary Doctor of Letters was given to him in 1957.[1] Before his death he was President of the Berwyn (Illinois) National Bank, and was also involved in several savings and loans around the Chicago area.[25] He died at his summer home in Wilmington, New York,[26] on August 7, 1961, leaving an estate valued at over 1 million dollars.[2] His widow was Mary Jerabek Kryl,[27] originally of Vienna.[25]

Musical style[edit]

Program page from 1917 US tour

Kryl was one of the few musicians who enjoyed successful dual careers as a mainstream musical artist and as an ethnic recording artist. He transitioned from a star soloist with the Sousa outfit to a leader of ethnic Czech music,[28] and made the transition back to the broader national audience. Because of his solo ability, he was branded “the Caruso of the cornet".[3] He was a master of producing pedal tones and the technique of multiphonic effects.[8] He would hold a high note for a duration of one minute.[29] As a conductor, he was well regarded, and known for his disuse of a score and baton.[1]

Legacy[edit]

While never a jazz player, his technique was an influence on Louis Armstrong[citation needed] and Harry James.[30]

Kryl became known as the "robber baron of the music field" because of his business talent and frugality.[1] Upon not receiving his full fee, he was known to cancel concerts with audience members seated.[31]

Kryl's two daughters became established musicians, performing with Bohumir's "Bohemian Band" as early as 1912.[32] Kryl was insistent that his daughters become professional musicians. He offered each $100,000 if they were to remain single until the age of 30, so that their careers would not be stalled by the distractions of romance.[16] Josephine (1897–1960), a pupil of Eugène Ysaÿe,[33] spurned this offer in order to marry Dr. Paul White, director of the Rochester Civic Orchestra, in 1924,[34][35] even though Bohumir managed to delay the wedding twice.[18] Marie initially took the same course of action when she became engaged to Greek Count Spiro Hadji-Kyriacos.[36] However, Marie broke her engagement and was able to collect the full amount from her father.[1][18] Marie did wed at age 35 to composer and NBC conductor Michel Gusikoff.[37][nb 1] Both daughters continued their musical careers after marriage.[18]

A popular Conn cornet model formally named the "Conn-queror" was nicknamed the "Kryl Model."[1]

His band furthered the career of many Czech musicians, including Vlasta Sedlovská, Jaroslav Cimera on trombone, Leo Zelenka-Lerando on harp, František Kuchynka on double-bass, J. Frnkla on French horn, Jaroslav Kocián on violin, and multi-instrumentalist Alois Bohumil Hrabák.[1]

At one point, Kryl was considered to have one of the best private art collections in the United States.[5] Kryl donated 16 paintings to St. Joseph's College.[38][39]

Compositions[edit]

Partial discography[edit]

As soloist[edit]

Bohumir Kryl as solo artist on Marconi Velvet Tone Record 0167
Label Catalog # Title Format Year Notes
Columbia 1091 Alice Where Art Thou 7-inch 78rpm duet with Leroy Haines on trombone. take 1 issued[41]
Columbia 1091 Alice Where Art Thou 10-inch 78rpm duet with Leroy Haines on trombone. takes 1 and 5 issued[41] Also appeared on Oxford 1091.[42]
Columbia 32031 Alice Where Art Thou 2-minute wax cylinder 1903 duet with Leroy Haines on trombone[43]
Zonophone 5226 Alice Where Art Thou 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 duet with Leroy Haines on trombone[44]
Edison 50613[45] Aloha Oe 10-inch vertical-cut 78rpm ~1919
Edison 80523[45] Ambassador polka 10-inch vertical-cut 78rpm ~1917
Edison 3833 The Ambassador polka 4-minute celluloid cylinder 1919
Edison 8254 Answer 2-minute wax cylinder 1902 [46]
Zonophone 5218 Answer 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 [44]
Columbia 31324 Arbucklenian Polka 2-minute wax cylinder 1901 [47]
Edison 8327 Arbucklenian Polka 2-minute wax cylinder 1902 [46]
Edison 822 At the Mill 4-minute wax cylinder 1911 Re-issued on Blue Amberol 1995
Zonophone 5219 Be My Own 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 [44]
Edison 3547 Ben Bolt 4-minute celluloid cylinder 1918
Columbia 32021 Birds of the Forest 2-minute wax cylinder 1903 [43]
Columbia 32124 Birds of the Forest 2-minute wax cylinder 1903 duet with Leroy Haines, trombone.[43]
Columbia 1189 Birds of the Forest 10-inch 78rpm ~February 1903 duet with Leroy Haines, trombone. also appears on Columbia A221[48]
Edison 8253 Carnival of Venice 2-minute wax cylinder 1902 [46]
Victor 2598 Carnival of Venice 10-inch 78rpm 1903 euphonium solo[49]
Columbia 32123 Carnival of Venice 2-minute cylinder 1903 Composer: Benedict[43]
Columbia 1188 Carnival of Venice 10-inch 78rpm ~February 1903 also appears on Columbia A213[48]
Zonophone 5220 Carnival of Venice 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 [44]
Victor 35298 Carnival of Venice 12-inch 78rpm May 17, 1911 with Kryl's Bohemian Band. take 3 issued[50]
Edison 80718[45] Carnival of Venice: Variations 10-inch vertical-cut 78rpm
Pathé 29216 Carnival of Venice 11.5-inch vertical-cut 78rpm ~1918 [51]
Edison 8609 Cary waltz 2-minute wax cylinder 1903 [46]
Zonophone 5769 Cary waltz 7 and/or 9 inch 78rpm ~1903
Edison 80412[45] Cleopatra Polka 10-inch vertical-cut 78rpm ~1917
Edison 8307 Columbia 2-minute wax cylinder 1903
Zonophone 5616A Columbia, Fantasia Polka 10-inch 78rpm [52] Also released on Oxford 5616A[53]
Columbia 1081 Columbia Polka 10-inch 78rpm ~1903 also appears on Columbia A226[48] and Marconi 167
Zonophone 5221 Columbian Fantasie 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 [44]
Victor 63578B Děvčátko darovalo mi prstýnek 10" 78rpm May 16, 1911 ethnic series. with Kryl's Bohemian Band. take 2 issued[50]
Zonophone 5221 Down Deep Within the Cellar 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 [44]
Columbia 32130 Du, Du with Variations 2-minute cylinder 1903 Composer: Levy[43]
Columbia 1204 Du Du with Variations 7-inch 78rpm - [54]
Victor 2595 Du, Du 10-inch 78rpm 1903 euphonium solo[55]
Zonophone 613 Du, Du, with variations 10-inch 78rpm ~1906 [56]
U.S. Everlasting 1305 Du, Du 2-minute celluloid cylinder 1909
Columbia 32029 Facilita 2-minute cylinder 1903 Composer: Hartmann[43]
Columbia 1089 Facilita 7-inch 78rpm take 3 issued
Columbia 31326 Fantaisie, from "Fra Diavolo" 2-minute cylinder 1901 Composer: Auber[47]
Zonophone 638 Gobble Duet from "The Mascot" 10-inch 78rpm duet with Jaroslav Cimero, trombone.[56] Also released on Oxford 5346B[52]
Victor 35195 Grand trio (Attila. Te sol quest'anima) (Verdi) 12" 78rpm May 16, 1911 take 1 issued. Also on Victor 68316[50]
Zonophone 5227 Il Trovatore: Miserere 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 duet with Leroy Haines, trombone[44]
Columbia 1094 Il Trovatore: Miserere 10-inch 78rpm ~Nov. 1902 duet with Leroy Haines, also appears on Columbia A187, Oxford 1094 and Silvertone 1094[42]
Columbia 32034 Il Trovatore: Miserere 2-minute cylinder 1903 [43]
Edison 8308 Inflamatus from Stabat Mater 2-minute wax cylinder 1903 [46]
Columbia 1090 Im Reize Von 16 Jahren 7-inch 78rpm ~Nov. 1902 [57]
Zonophone 5223 Inflamatus from Stabat Mater 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 [44]
Pathé 29216B Irish Fantasies medley 11.5-inch vertical-cut 78rpm ~1918 [51]
Pathé 20381 Killarney 10-inch 78rpm [58]
Victor 2596 King Carnival 10-inch 78rpm 1903 on euphonium[40]
Edison 8663 King Carnival polka 2-minute wax cylinder 1903 [46]
Edison 8745 Kryl's favorite 2-minute wax cylinder 1904 [46]
Columbia 1199 Last Rose of Summer 7-inch 78rpm - [54]
Columbia 1199 Last Rose of Summer 10-inch 78rpm also issued (take 5) on Columbia A187,[48] Oxford 1199,[59] and Aretino D621[60]
Edison 9860 Lvi silon 4-minute celluloid cylinder 1913 Bohemian series
Zonophone 5616B Miserere 10-inch 78rpm [52]
Columbia 31327 My Lodging Is on the Cold Ground 2-minute cylinder 1901 Title originally released by W. S. Mygrants[47]
Columbia 31325 My Pretty Jane 2-minute cylinder 1901 Composers: Fitzball - Bishop. Title originally released by W. S. Mygrants[47]
Edison 9861 Na prej 4-minute celluloid cylinder 1913 Bohemian series
Edison 8482 National fantasia 2-minute wax cylinder 1903 [46]
Edison 9005 O Promise Me 2-minute wax cylinder 1905 [46]
Zonophone 89 Oh, How Delightful 10-inch 78rpm ~1905 [56] Also released on Oxford 89[61]
Columbia 31313 One I Love, Two I Love 2-minute cylinder 1901 [47]
Edison 9812 Orly Polskie 4-minute wax cylinder Bohemian series, Re-issued on Blue Amberol 9862
Zonophone 5228 The Palms 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 duet with Leroy Haines, trombone[44]
Edison 9807 Pode mlejnem 4-minute wax cylinder Bohemian series, Re-issued on Blue Amberol 9857
Edison 9813 Povidky s. Vidensky lesu 4-minute wax cylinder Bohemian series, Re-issued on Blue Amberol 9863
Edison 790 Praise Ye 4-minute wax cylinder Re-issued on Blue Amberol 2054
Berliner 03451 Robin Adair 7-inch 78rpm March 1899 [62]
Victor 35239 Rigoletto quartet 12-inch 78rpm May 18, 1911 "Brass Quartet." take 1 issued. Also on Victor 68346[50]
Edison 8208 Russian fantasia 2-minute wax cylinder 1902 [46]
Columbia 32023 Russian Fantasia 2-minute cylinder 1903 Composer: Portnoff[43]
Zonophone 5225 Russian Fantasie 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 [44]
Victor 2597 Serenade Pierne 10-inch 78rpm 1903 euphonium solo[63]
Columbia 32120 Short and Sweet Polka 2-minute cylinder duet with Leroy Haines, trombone[43]
Columbia 1185 Short and Sweet Polka 10-inch 78rpm duet with Leroy Haines, trombone
Zonophone 90 Short and Sweet Polka 10-inch 78rpm ~1905 duet with Leroy Haines, trombone.[56] Also released on Zonophone 5346A[52]
Edison 8418 Sing, Smile, Slumber 2-minute wax cylinder 1903 [46]
Zonophone 111 Sing, Smile, Slumber 10-inch 78rpm ~1905 [56] Also released on Oxford 111[61]
Victor 68338 Sweet Is the Dream 12-inch 78rpm May 17, 1911 with Jaroslav Cimera, trombone. Ethnic series. take 2 issued[50]
Columbia 32030 Sweet Sixteen Waltz 2-minute cylinder 1903 Composer: Aronson[43]
Edison 8811 Sweet Sixteen waltz 2-minute wax cylinder 1904 [46]
Zonophone P-5842 Sweet Sixteen 7-inch 78rpm - [57]
Columbia 32032 Theresa Polka 2-minute cylinder 1903 Composer: Waldron[43]
Columbia 32035 Tyroleans, The 2-minute cylinder 1903 Composer: J. F. Frøhlich[43]
Zonophone 5229 Tyroleans 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 duet with Leroy Haines, trombone[44]
Columbia 32033 Utility polka 2-minute wax cylinder 1903 duet with Leroy Haines, trombone[43]
Zonophone 5230 Utility polka 7 and/or 9-inch 78rpm ~1903 duet with Leroy Haines, trombone[44]
Edison 80578[45] Where the River Shannon Flows 10-inch vertical-cut 78rpm
Pathé 20381 Where the River Shannon Flows 10-inch 78rpm [58]
Edison 9808 Zeleny hajove 4-minute wax cylinder Bohemian series, Re-issued on Blue Amberol 9858

As leader[edit]

Kryl's Bohemian Band on Victor 63302 side B
Label Catalog # Title Format Year Notes
Victor 68338 Bartered bride: Selection (Bedřich Smetana) 12-inch 78rpm May 18, 1911 [64]
Victor 68335 Bartered bride : Sextette 12-inch 78rpm May 16, 1911 ethnic series. take 2 issued. Also on Gramophone 2-070003.[64]
Victor 16891 Dance of the Wood Nymphs 10-inch 78rpm May 16, 1911 take 1 issued. Also on Victor 63472.[64]
Victor 35195 Grand trio (Attila. Te sol quest'anima) (Verdi) 12-inch 78rpm May 16, 1911 "Brass trio with band" take 1 issued. Also on Victor 68316.[64]
Victor 63578A Kukčka valčik (Cuckoo waltz) (Antonín Dvořák) 10-inch 78rpm May 19, 1911 ethnic series. take 2 issued.[64]
Victor 63645 Láska a život ve Vidni 10-inch 78rpm May 15, 1911 ethnic series. take 2 issued. Also on Gramophone 7-70013.[64]
Victor 68335 Libušse overture 12-inch 78rpm May 19, 1911 ethnic series. take 1 issued. Also on Gramophone 2-070004.[64]
Victor 63303B Lvi silou pochod 10-inch 78rpm May 15, 1911 ethnic series. take 1 issued. Also on Gramophone 7-70001.[64]
Victor 35298 Marche fantastique 12-inch 78rpm May 19, 1911 take 1 issued. Also on Gramophone 0427.[64]
Victor 35258 Marche Indienne 12-inch 78rpm May 18, 1911 take 2 issued. Also on Gramophone 0387.[64]
Victor 63782B Na prej 10-inch 78rpm May 15, 1911 ethnic series. take 2 issued. Also on Gramophone 7-70008.[64]
Victor 63302A Národin kalop 10-inch 78rpm May 15, 1911 ethnic series. take 1 issued. Also on Gramophone 7-70011.[64]
Victor 68296 Pepe polka 12-inch 78rpm May 16, 1911 ethnic series. take 2 issued. Also on Gramophone 2-070001.[64]
Victor 63303A Pode m'lejnem pochod 10-inch 78rpm May 15, 1911 ethnic series. take 2 issued. Also on Gramophone 7-70010.[64]
Victor 63302B Prodná nevěsta : March 10-inch 78rpm May 15, 1911 ethnic series. take 2 issued. Also on Gramophone 7-7009*.[64]
Victor 31832 Sakuntala overture (Carl Goldmark) 12-inch 78rpm May 16, 1911 take 2 issued.[64]
Victor 68296 Směs čes kých písní 12-inch 78rpm May 17, 1911 ethnic series. take 1 issued.[64]
Victor 63645 Sokol's triumphal march 10-inch 78rpm May 15, 1911 ethnic series. take 2 issued. Also on Gramophone 7-70006.[64]
Victor 63782A Zelený hájové march 10-inch 78rpm May 17, 1911 ethnic series. take 1 issued.[64]

References[edit]

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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Marie's age stated as unknown in article, they assumed she had not yet reached age 30, Other articles mistakenly refer to her as being 26 years old, but in fact she was 35, having been born in 1897. See New York Times obituary. Given the number of articles that cite her age as 26, it is likely the story was largely a publicity stunt by Kryl, and her true age was disguised. It is otherwise possible the birth-date found in her obituary is incorrect.