The Stefan Frenkel papers date from 1914-1970. They mainly consist of published and unpublished scores for Frenkel's compositions and arrangements, and for music by other composers. They also contain scrapbooks, clippings, photographs and programs. Frenkel's arrangements include music by Jerzy Fitelberg, Heinz Teissen, Karol Rathaus, Kurt Weill, and by standard repertoire composers such as Vivaldi, Paganini, Handel, Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart.
Scores by other composers often have Frenkel's performance notes and, in some cases, inscriptions from the composers. These include music from standard repertoire composers such as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, but also include 20th century figures such as Ferruccio Busoni, Paul Dessau, Jerzy Fitelberg, Karol Rathaus, Max Reger, Karol Szymanowski, Alexandre Tansman, Ernst Toch, Stefan Wolpe and Kurt Weill.
Frenkel's papers also include scrapbooks of programs and clippings; a small amount of photographs, loose clipping, programs, and correspondence; books inscribed to Frenkel; and audio recordings of Frenkel in performance, many published but some possibly unique. The recordings are all 78-rpm discs and include Frenkel performing the music of Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Purcell, Beethoven, Karol Rathaus, Rudolph Goehr, Kurt Weill, Heinz Tiessen, Josef Suk, Rolf Schubert and Adolph Waterman. They also contain recordings of the violinist Carl Flesch at Carnegie Hall, and several discs of Bronislaw Huberman as both violinist and composer.
Audio materials are subject to preservation evaluation and migration prior to access.
Biographical/historical: Stefan Frenkel was born in Warsaw, Poland on November 21, 1902 (or 1905; his family is unsure of the year). In Warsaw, Frenkel studied violin with his uncle, Maurice Frenkel. He then studied with Adolf Busch and Karl Flesch in Berlin at the Hochschule für Musik from 1919 to 1921. Frenkel was Concertmaster of the Dresden Philharmonic from 1924 to 1927. He was active in contemporary music, giving premieres of works by Suk and Hindemith. He was a close friend of Kurt Weill, and gave the premiere performances of Weill's Concerto for Violin, Op. 12. Other composers Frenkel knew and whose music he performed included Karol Rathaus, Alexandre Tansman, Jerzy Fitelberg and Arthur Schnabel. After the rise of the Nazis, Frenkel left for Switzerland, where he became concertmaster of L'Orchestra de la Suisse Romande in Geneva. In 1936, Frenkel moved to New York City, where he became Principal Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera from 1936 to 1940. He became a US citizen in 1944. Frenkel became best known for his violin arrangement of Mack the Knife and other music from Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera. Later, he was Concertmaster at the Santa Fe and Rio de Janeiro Operas in off-seasons. From 1964 to 1968, Frenkel taught violin at Princeton University. He died in New York on March 1, 1979.
"Stefan Frenkel, at 73; Ex-Met Concertmaster." The New York Times, March 5, 1979, B11.
"Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Principal Musicians," Leopold Stokowski website, accessed April 4, 2011.