Victor Herbert

Pittsburgh Symphony Conductor, Composer, ASCAP Founder

Victor Herbert became the conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1898.  Herbert was flamboyant conductor who inspired both musicians and audiences with his great enthusiasm.  Ticket sales soared as audiences flocked to hear Victor conduct a repertoire that included his own popular works.  The PSO became a major American orchestra under his direction and earned critical comparison to the ensembles like the New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony Orchestra. Under Herbert the PSO toured the U.S. highlighted by the premiere of Herbert's Auditorium Festival March at 1901 Chicago Auditorium Theatre's 12 anniversary. On invitation with the financing of Andrew Carnegie the PSO performed two concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City.  After a disagreement with management Herbert left the PSO in 1901 to found the Victor Herbert Orchestra.

Born in Ireland educated in Germany Victor Herbert began his musical career as a cellist appearing first in Europe and then in American as soloist with major orchestras.  He went on to be a conductor and composer.  While living in Pittsburgh Herbert wrote eight of his operettas.  His operettas include “The Serenade” (1897) and “The Fortune Teller” (1898), “Babes in Toyland “(1903), “Mlle. Modiste” (1905), “The Red Mill” (1906), “Naughty Marietta” (1910), “Sweethearts” (1913) and “Eileen” (1917).  “Babes in Toyland” was made into a movie musical by Walt Disney.  He turned to popular music after World War I.

Herbert worked with John Philip Sousa, Irving Berlin and others to found American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) on February He served as the vice-prSesident and director of ASCAP until his death in 1924. Herbert won a landmark US Supreme Court lawsuit in 1917 that gave composers the right to charge fees for the public performance of their music.

Victor Herbert was honored with a U.S. Stamp and by the Song Writers Hall of Fame.

"It is difficult to comprehend the American popular song without the music and vision of Victor Herbert. Today, Herbert is revered as one of the giants of the American Musical Theater and troubadour for songwriters." - Song Writer Hall of Fame