Adolph Schellschmidt

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Adolph Schellschmidt
Adolph Schellschmidt in 1900
Adolph Schellschmidt in 1900
Background information
BornAugust 30, 1867[1]
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States[2]
DiedMarch 18, 1946(1946-03-18) (aged 78)[2]
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States[2]
GenresClassical music
Chamber music

Adolph H. Schellschmidt (August 30, 1867 – March 18, 1946)[1] was an American cellist and composer. He wrote, studied, taught and performed classical and chamber music. He was nicknamed "the dean of cellists."[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Adolph Schellschmidt was born on August 30, 1867 in Indianapolis, Indiana.[1] He was one of seven siblings. The family was very musical, with all children learning how to play an instrument to participate in the family chamber orchestra.[4] His father, Adolph, taught Schellschmidt how to play the violin when Schellschmidt was ten.[3][4] Two years later, at the age of 12, he began playing cello after seeing Thedodore Hahn perform in Cincinnati.[4]

Schellschmidt eventually studied under Hahn in Chicago.[2] Schellschmidt also learned how to play clarinet at this time.[4] He lived for a time in New York City, where her performed and was a member of the Musicians Protective Union. When he was 26, Schellschmidt traveled to Europe to study, and played in the first performance of Death and Transfiguration, conducted by Richard Strauss.[2] In Europe, he also studied under Louis Hegyesi.[4] He studied, alongside his sister Emma, at the Cologne Conservatory from 1890 until 1893.[3]


In 1893, Schellschmidt returned to Indianapolis from Europe.[4] He started teaching at the Indianapolis Conservatory of Music.[2] He started performing with the Schliewan String Quartet and co-organized the Kammermusik Society.[4] Eventually, he joined the faculty at DePauw University, where he taught for 17 years and oversaw the glee club.[2][5] He also taught at Indiana University from 1919 until 1921.[6] He was a member and teacher at the Arthur Jordan Conservatory for 26 years.[2] As of 1898, Schellschmidt taught at his personal studio, alongside his sisters Emma, on harp, and Bertha on violin.[7] He was nicknamed "Schelley" by his students.[4]

Later life and death[edit]

Schellschmidt died on March 18, 1946 at his home in Indianapolis after being sick for nine weeks.[2][3] In tribute, the Arthur Jordan Conservatory yearbook, Opus, was dedicated to Schellschmidt.[4]


Schellschmidt's sheet music collection is held in the collection of the Indiana State Library.[1] His papers are in the collection of DePauw University.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Collection: Adolph Schellschmidt collection | Indiana State Library Manuscripts Catalog". Rare Books and Manuscripts. Indiana State Library. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Adolph Schellschmidt's Obituary". Historic Indianapolis. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Adolph Schellschmidt, Dean of Hoosier Cellists, is Dead at 77". The Indianapolis News. 19 March 1946. p. 7. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Opus (1946)". Jordan Conservatory of Music Yearbooks. Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music. 1946. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  5. ^ Sparrow, Masada (12 June 2017). "Schellschmidt family biographies" (PDF). Indiana State Library. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  6. ^ Indiana University Bulletin. The University. 1924. p. 9.
  7. ^ Music: A Monthly Magazine, Devoted to the Art, Science, Technic and Literature of Music. W. S. B. Mathews. 1898. p. 58.
  8. ^ "Collection: Adolph Schellschmidt papers". DePauw University. Retrieved 1 April 2020.

External links[edit]