b. Czernowitz [now Chernovtsky], Ukraine, August 29, 1855
d. Mistek, Czech Republic, June 7, 1932
Emil Paur’s four-year tenure with the Philharmonic coincided with a temporary slump in its fortunes. The conservative Paur didn’t command the fiery persona of Seidl before him, and although single ticket sales did well, subscriptions were down.
Paur had been a brilliant violinist and pianist as a student in Vienna; by the time he was 21, he was a professional conductor in a series of increasingly important positions. He came to the United States in 1893 to follow Arthur Nikisch as conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Five years later, the New York Philharmonic Society elected Paur as Seidl’s successor. In 1899, he also replaced Dvorák as director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, founded in 1885 by Jeannette Thurber. Both positions terminated in 1902, at which point Paur returned to Europe temporarily. He was enticed back to America with a three-year contract at an annual salary of $10,000 to replace Victor Herbert as conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Herbert had led the ensemble for the previous six years and raised its level of performance to a par with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Society. In Pittsburgh, Paur conducted his own Symphony "In der Natur." (He also composed a piano concerto, a violin concerto, and some chamber music.) Unfortunately, Paur had no better success in Pennsylvania than New York, and after limping through the 1909-10 season, the Pittsburgh Symphony folded. He then returned to conduct in Berlin.