History of Kneisel Hall Kneisel Hall's rich musical tradition dates back to 1885, when Franz Kneisel, the celebrated 20-year-old Austrian violinist, came to the United States at the invitation of conductor Wilhelm Gericke to become concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. During the same year that Franz Kneisel joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he formed the Kneisel Quartet, the first professional string quartet in America. Illustrious from the start, the Kneisel Quartet reigned supreme in chamber music from 1885 to 1917.
In addition to his Quartet responsibilities, after leaving the Boston Symphony, Franz Kneisel became the Chair of the Department of Strings at the Institute of Musical Art, now The Juilliard School, directed at that time by Frank Damrosch. Franz Kneisel spent many summers in Maine. Recognizing the importance of year-round study to the serious student, in 1902 he began to bring some of his most gifted students to Blue Hill. Other members of the Kneisel Quartet began to follow, thus establishing the summer teaching tradition that thrives today at Kneisel Hall. Franz Kneisel's distinguished summer school produced such splendid musicians as Sascha Jacobson, Samuel Gardner, Louis Kaufman, Marie Roemaet-Rosanoff, Joseph and Lillian Fuchs, William Kroll, Phyllis and Karl Kraeuter and Carl Stern.