Kroll, William

William Kroll (1901-1980) was a renowned American violinist, teacher, and composer. Throughout his career, he left an indelible mark on the world of classical music. Kroll's extraordinary talent and dedication to his craft led him to become a prominent figure in the violin community. This article explores his life, accomplishments, and contributions to the music industry.

Early Years and Musical Education

Born on January 30, 1901, William Kroll's musical journey began at a young age. At just four years old, he took his first violin lessons from his father, a skilled violinist. Recognizing his son's exceptional talent, Kroll's father nurtured his musical abilities. At the age of nine or ten, Kroll moved to Berlin to continue his studies at the prestigious Berlin Advanced School for Music under the guidance of Henri Marteau, Joseph Joachim's successor.

Return to the United States

Unfortunately, Kroll's studies in Berlin were interrupted by the outbreak of World War I in 1914. As a result, he returned to the United States, where he continued his musical education. From 1916 to 1921, he studied with Franz Kneisel at the Juilliard Institute of Musical Arts in New York. It was during this period that Kroll's talent truly began to shine.

Career and Performances

Kroll made his public debut in New York at the age of 14, leaving audiences in awe of his prodigious skills. His remarkable performance established him as a rising star in the classical music scene. While Kroll performed as a soloist in various venues across Europe and the Americas, he also dedicated a significant portion of his career to chamber music.

Chamber Music Ensembles

During the years 1922 to 1929, Kroll became a member of the Elshuco Trio, alongside Willem Winneke and Aurelio Giorni. This ensemble showcased Kroll's ability to collaborate and create beautiful music as part of a group. Additionally, he joined the South Mountain Quartet in 1923, followed by the Coolidge Quartet, which consisted of William Kroll, Nicolai Berezowsky, Nicolas Moldavan, and Victor Gott.

Coolidge Quartet's Success

The Coolidge Quartet gained considerable recognition and success during its tenure. In 1938, the quartet commanded a substantial fee of $400.00 per concert, a significant amount for that era, equivalent to approximately $6,550.00 in today's currency. The ensemble's performances captivated audiences and solidified Kroll's reputation as a masterful musician.

Teaching Career

Alongside his performing career, Kroll dedicated himself to teaching aspiring violinists. He shared his knowledge and expertise at esteemed institutions such as Juilliard, Mannes College, the Peabody Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute, and Queens College. Kroll's commitment to nurturing young talent ensured his legacy would live on through future generations of violinists.

Notable Recordings

Although Kroll released only a few commercial albums, his recordings remain highly regarded. One of his notable albums includes a compilation of three Mozart sonatas, featuring Mozart's famous K454 sonata, composed for Regina Strinasacchi, one of the first female concert violinists, in 1784. This album, available for purchase, showcases Kroll's mastery of the violin and his interpretation of Mozart's compositions.

Instrument Collection

Throughout his career, Kroll had the privilege of playing exceptional violins. Notably, he had the opportunity to perform on a 1709 Stradivarius, known as the Ernst Strad or the Lady Halle Strad, previously owned and played by Heinrich Ernst and later Wilma Neruda. Additionally, Kroll played a 1775 G.B. Guadagnini violin, further demonstrating his appreciation for exquisite instruments.

Legacy and Demise

William Kroll's contributions to the world of classical music continue to resonate long after his passing. His exceptional talent, dedication to teaching, and captivating performances have left an indelible mark on the music industry. Kroll's legacy lives on through his students and the countless violinists who have been inspired by his work. On March 10, 1980, William Kroll passed away in Boston at the age of 79, leaving behind a rich musical heritage.


In conclusion, William Kroll's life and musical journey exemplify the dedication and passion required to become a masterful violinist. From his early years studying with his father to his international performances and teaching career, Kroll's impact on classical music cannot be overstated. His contributions to the violin community and his exceptional talent will continue to inspire generations to come.

Violin Compositions of William Kroll | Animato Strings


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