The Germania Musical Society in Newport

The Germania Musical Society in 1853

In 1848 a group of German musicians arrived in America and took the country by storm. The ensemble would summer in Newport and were in demand at the Grand Hotels and private parties that made Newport summers the place to be, even before the coming Gilded Age. The Germanian’s eventually settled in Boston and then officially disbanded in the mid 1850s, with some members revising the name for other small orchestras for years to come. In 1850, the members of the orchestra were listed as Newport residents in the United States Census. Read more about the members of the original orchestra here.

From the Jusly 30, 1853 edition of the Newport Daily News

Let's met some of the musicians and composers and hear their music

Carl Bergmann

Carl Bergmann was a cellist with the Germania Musical Society and was also one of the ensembles conductors. He later went on to conduct the New York Philharmonic. Here more of his music dedicated to the Grand Hotels of Newport.

A Choice Collection of Waltzes & Polkas As Performed by the Germania Musical Society


No. 7 Songs of the Danube


Composed in 1851

  • "Songs of the Danube".

F.B. Helmsmuller

Composer and some time manager of the Germania Musical Society and others, he composed a number of songs for the orchestra and arranged other contemporary tunes for the instrumentation of the orchestra.

Souvenir de Germania


A Choice Collection of Favorite Pieces as Performed by the Germania Musical Society


No. 4 Souvenir de Newport


Composed in 1850

  • "Souvenir de Newport Polka Redowa".

Soldier’s Departure March


As Performed at Newport by the Germania Musical Society


Dedicated to Miss Louisa Stanford of Newport


Composed in 1850

  • "Soldiers Departure".

Charles Lenschow

Charles Lenschow was one of the first conductors of the Germania Musical Society.

Music of the Germania, No. 3


The Wedding March from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”


by Felix Mendelssohn


Arranged for piano in 1850 by Charles Lenschow

  • "Wedding March".

William Schultze

William (Wilhelm Heinrich) Schultze a violinist, was born in Hanover, Germany where his father was a bandmaster.  Schultze studied with Karl Müller 1843-1845 and Karl Böhmer in Berlin 1845-1847.  Became leader of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club in Boston 1859-1878.  Also played in the Boston Orchestral Union and the Musical Fund Society.  Later, in 1877, Professor of Music, Syracuse University.  Died in Syracuse in September 1888, while playing a recital .

page 56-157.  Ryan, Thomas Recollections of an Old Musician.  E. P. Dutton. New York. 1899

The Celebrated Encore Set of Sounds from Home


As Performed by the Germania Musical Society


Composed in 1851


arr. for piano by F.B. Helmsmuller

  • "Encore Sounds From Home".

William Ferdinand Thiede

Thiede performed with the Germania Musical Society on bassoon and arranged and composed some of their music. 

The Sylph Polka


Dedicated to Miss Nina R. Petri


Composed in 1851

  • "Sylph Polka".

Carl Zerrahn

Zerrahn first played the Flute in the Germania Musical Ensemble and later became conductor of the orchestra. He later became musical director of the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston.

The Prairie Polka


Dedicated to Mrs. Emilie Stave


Composed in 1854

  • "Prairie Polka".