Holmes, Markwood

Markwood Miller Holmes, a renowned musician and composer, made significant contributions to the world of classical music. Born on August 18, 1899, in Lexington, Nebraska, and passing away on January 24, 1994, in Frontenac, Kansas, Holmes left a lasting legacy through his musical education, performances, and teaching career.

Early Years and Musical Education

In 1917, Holmes embarked on his musical journey by enrolling at the prestigious Horner Institute of Fine Arts in Kansas City. There, he honed his skills in violin and piano, and his exceptional talent soon led him to become a member of the school's staff. As a violin and piano teacher, he shared his knowledge and passion for music with aspiring musicians.

Concertmaster and Tours

In 1919, Holmes's talents were recognized when he was named the concertmaster of the Institute Orchestra. This appointment showcased his exceptional abilities as a violinist and solidified his place in the music community. Holmes's dedication to his craft took him beyond the boundaries of Kansas City. In 1925, he eagerly pursued further studies by enrolling in a school in Paris, France. During this time, he embarked on a tour of France, Belgium, Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco as the second violinist of the Vandella String Quartet.

Return to the United States and Teaching Career

In 1929, Holmes returned to the United States with a wealth of experience and knowledge. Settling back in Kansas City, he joined the Kansas City Conservatory as a teacher in 1930. Simultaneously, he became the principal second violinist of the recently established Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra. For three years, from 1930 to 1947, Holmes contributed his exceptional musicality to the orchestra's performances.

Director and Composer

Holmes's influence extended beyond his performances and teaching. In 1937, he became the director of the violin section at Kansas City's Pro Art School. This position allowed him to shape the education of budding violinists, sharing his expertise and nurturing their talents. Additionally, in 1944, Holmes published his first violin system book, further solidifying his reputation as a composer and educator.

Fort Scott and Kansas State Teachers College

From 1943 to 1945, Holmes took on a role as a string teacher in the Fort Scott, Kansas, school system. His dedication to music education continued as he expanded his teaching career to Kansas State Teachers College in Pittsburg in 1947. At the college, now known as PSU, Holmes taught violin and piano while also composing numerous violin and piano compositions.

Retirement and Continuing Legacy

After an illustrious 22-year tenure at Kansas State Teachers College in Pittsburg, Holmes retired in 1969. However, his passion for music and teaching persisted. Following his retirement, he joined the faculty of Fort Scott Community College, where he taught music theory and violin. In recognition of his remarkable contributions, Holmes received the Kansas Composer of the Year award in 1979.

Honored Legacy

Markwood Miller Holmes's impact on the music community did not go unnoticed. In 1980, he was honored by the American String Teachers Union for his exemplary leadership and dedication to the art of string education. His life's work, encompassing his performances, compositions, and teachings, continues to inspire and shape the future of classical music.


Markwood Miller Holmes, a remarkable musician, composer, and educator, left an indelible mark on the world of classical music. Through his performances, teaching, and compositions, he enriched the lives of countless musicians and audiences alike. Holmes's dedication and passion for his craft serve as an enduring inspiration for aspiring musicians and lovers of classical music around the world.

Violin Compositions of Markwood Holmes | Animato Strings


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