This November, as the world commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the Archives recognizes those from the Curtis family who served in, or were affected by, the "Great War."
Born in Canada in 1885, Farnam was a sought-after organist and scholar in both his native country and the United States by the time the war broke out in 1914. Once it became apparent that the conflict would not be short-lived, Farnam halted his career and enlisted in the Canadian infantry in early 1918. He was stationed in England, returning to Boston after the Armistice. In 1927 Farnam came to Curtis to serve as the school’s first organ instructor. Sadly he was here for only three years before dying of cancer at age 43.
Though born in Russia in 1878, in 1914 Gabrilowitsch was living in Germany as the conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. However, due to his Russian lineage he was arrested as an enemy national shortly after the war began, his freedom being obtained only through the intervention of a local Archbishop. Gabrilowitsch fled Germany, settled in the United States (with his wife Clara, the daughter of Mark Twain), and, through his friendship with Josef Hofmann, served as an early member of Curtis’s Advisory Board.
Kincaid was in his early twenties when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the war, leaving behind a burgeoning career as a flutist with the New York Symphony and New York Chamber Music Society. After his service ended he soon traded New York for Philadelphia, where Leopold Stokowski had offered him the principal flute position in the Philadelphia Orchestra—a seat he would hold for 40 seasons. This longevity, paired with his long teaching career at Curtis, established Kincaid as the Grandfather of the American Flute School.
By the age of 24, French-born Carlos Salzedo was already performing as a harpist with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and extensively touring as part of the Trio de Lutèce. At the outbreak of the war, he was drafted into the French army, requiring him to put his harp aside—in favor of a ladle. Salzedo was made head cook of his infantry unit, which, by happenstance, contained other artists and musicians. Seizing the opportunity, Salzedo organized them into a performing group which sang for soldiers and visited hospitals. Receiving a medical discharge in 1916, Salzedo returned to the United States, where he founded the harp department at Curtis in 1924.
*Personal collections are housed in the Curtis Archives
Kristina Wilson / archivist / Curtis Archives
For more information on Curtis history, visit the Curtis Archives.