Austrian violinist and composer. He was a US citizen from 1943. His prolific output of recordings in the early 20th century introduced a wider public to classical music from old masters such as Johann Sebastian Bach and François Couperin to moderns such as Manuel de Falla and Sergei Rachmaninov. He also composed and recorded romantic pieces in the style of the classics, often under a pseudonym. He gave the first performance of Edward Elgar's Violin Concerto in 1910, dedicated to him by the composer.
Kreisler appeared as an infant prodigy at the age of seven. He studied at the Vienna Conservatory under Joseph Hellmesberger and Jacques Auber, and at the Paris Conservatory under Joseph Massart and Léo Delibes, winning the gold medal at the age of 12. After touring in the USA in 1889 he returned to Austria to study medicine. After his military service and a period of intense study, he reappeared as a soloist in Berlin in 1899 and again toured in the USA. After three months' service in the Austrian army in 1914 he was discharged on account of wounds and returned to the USA, where he eventually made his home. He made frequent tours in Europe and gave the first performance of Elgar's violin concerto (10 November 1910). He was best known for his broad-toned and emotionally committed performances of the Brahms and Beethoven violin concertos. His compositions include a string quartet, the operetta Apple Blossoms (1919), and a number of violin solos, some of which he at first tried to present as the work of 18th-century composers.