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Reuter, Professor Florizel von

Category: Musician or composer

Florizel von Reuter (21 January 1890 – 10 May 1985) was an American-born violinist and composer, a child prodigy who went on to become a distinguished soloist and Professor and Director of the Master School for Violin at the Vienna State Academy of Music.   But he was also deeply involved in the investigation of psychic phenomena, as a consequence of his mother’s abilities and this research greatly influenced the direction of his later musical life.

Early life [late 1890s early 1900s]

Florizel Reuter was born in  Davenport, Iowa, U.S., he was the son of Jacob and Grace Reuter. The name "von Reuter" was only later adopted in connection with his European career as a title indicating prowess in his career.  His father was a musician and minor composer, his mother was also very musical.  Florizel had his first violin lessons with his mother.

He showed extraordinary talent at a very young age, and went to London to study in 1899. He was taught by Max Bendix, Emile Sauret (who had also taught his father Jacob), César Thomson and Henri Marteau.

In 1901 he graduated from the Geneva Conservatory, where there was a debate as to whether he should be allowed to graduate (presumably owing to his age). Several teachers refused to graduate any other pupils unless he was approved, and so the matter was settled

His first professional concert was at La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland in 1900 and much of his early career was spent performing and teaching in Europe.  In c 1916–1917 he became Director of the Zurich Music Academy. He spent most of the following two decades in Europe and published a ‘useful introduction’ to the study and analysis of solo violin music, Führer durch die solo-Violinmusik, eine Skizze ihrer Entstehung und Entwicklung mit kritischer Betrachtung ihrer Hauptwerke (M. Hesse, 1926).

Involvement in psychic research [1920s]

During the 1920s Florizel von Reuter’s mother, Grace,  developed automatic writing skills, receiving messages in 17 languages, many of them being evidential in character and often coming in mirror writing. Prof. von Reuter decided these experiences needed to be documented and he wrote a number of books which contained the evidence of these communications

  • The Psychic Experiences of a Musician (1928) - In The Psychic Experiences of a Musician, Prof. von Reuter gives a full analytical account of these phenomena.
  • The Consoling Angel (1928) - His second volume., The Consoling Angel, narrates the return of a school friend of his mother with over 300 proofs of identity, all dealing with matters totally unknown to von Reuter and his mother.  Professor Ernesto Bozzano considers this book as one of the most evidential publications of recent times.
  • A Musician's Talks with Unseen Friends (1931)-  A third book of- Prof. von Reuter, A Musician's Talks with Unseen Friends is a record of automatic scripts received by himself alone, dealing with ethical and philosophical matters, and given, by a band of communicators.  His first important contacts were Paganini and Pablo de Sarasate, and also the late Professor Heinrich Barth of Berlin. Messages were delivered through a new type of planchette

Later in life, Prof. von Reuter and his mother developed direct voice skills and received apport phenomena in their own circle. Prof. von Reuter also lectured on psychic matters all over Germany and the British Isles. He was associated with Baron von Schrenck Notzing in a series of experiments with the Schneider Brothers.

Musical career [1930s onwards]

Although the psychic phenomena did not cease, von Reuter continued with his musical career almost in parallel with the phenomena.  The latter appeared at times to even inform the former.

He received messages from disembodied spirits claiming to be Giuseppe Tartini, Pietro Locatelli, Karol Lipiński, Pierre Baillot, Charles Auguste de Bériot, Henri Vieuxtemps, Joseph Joachim, Ferdinand Hérold, Édouard Lalo, Max Reger, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Edvard Grieg. While rehearsing particularly difficult Paganini études Florizel found he was compelled to adopt entirely new fingerings as if guided by an external intelligence.

From 1931 to 1933 he was professor of violin at the Vienna Music Academy. Through the 1930s, he maintained a teaching and performance career, mainly in Germany and principally in Munich.

He made various solo recordings for Polydor Records, and also chamber ensemble works (in 1935–1936) with Elly Ney, Max Strub (violin), Walter Trampler (viola), Ludwig Hoelscher (cello), (the second manifestation of the Strub String Quartet) and under the direction of Willem van Hoogstraten, husband of Elly Ney. (Ney, Hoelscher and Strub had formed the Elly Ney Trio in 1932.)

Von Reuter also composed more than 50 original works of music, including scores, tone poems, and four operas.

Final years and death

Von Reuter remained in Germany during the War and until the late 1940s, when he returned to the U.S. He settled in Waukesha, Wisconsin and became Concertmaster of the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra, still teaching into the early 1980s. During the 1970s and 1980s he gave many "farewell performances."

Von Reuter died in his sleep on May 10, 1985.