Schirmer, family of German-American music publishers. The first of the family to be connected with music was Johann Georg Schirmer, who settled in Sondershausen. He was a cabinet and instrument maker. His son, Ernst Ludwig Rudolf Schirmer (b. Sondershausen, May 8, 1784), emigrated to N.Y. with his wife and children in 1840. His son (Friedrich) Gustav (Emil) Schirmer (b. Königsee, Thuringia, Sept. 19, 1829; d. Eisenach, Aug. 5, 1893) found employment in the music store of Scharfenberg & Luis, and later entered the employ of Kerksieg & Breusing, music dealers, becoming manager in 1854. In 1861 he took over the business with a partner, and acquired sole control in 1866, establishing the firm that was to become G. Schirmer, Inc. He was an enlightened and progressive publisher; entered into personal relations with noted European composers, and was among the original patrons of Wagner’s Bayreuth Festival. He was an amateur pianist and had a real love for music. The diary of Tchaikovsky’s visit to N.Y. in 1891 makes repeated mention of Schirmer and his family. Schirmer married an American, Mary Fairchild, by whom he had 5 daughters and 2 sons. The younger of these sons, Gustave Schirmer (b. N.Y., Feb. 18, 1864; d. Boston, July 15, 1907), organized in 1885 the Boston Music Co., which gained prominence especially through the pubi, of Ethelbert Nevin’s music. Shortly afterward, with his brother Rudolph Edward Schirmer (b. N.Y., July 22, 1859; d. Santa Barbara, Calif., Aug. 19, 1919), he became a partner in the firm founded by their father in N.Y., and after the latter’s death in 1893, he managed the business jointly with his brother, retaining independent control of the Boston Music Co. Rudolph was educated in N.Y. public schools, and lived in Weimar with his mother, brother, and 4 sisters (1873–75). He studied violin and piano with Helene Stahl and came in contact with the Liszt circle; in 1876 he entered the Coll. of N.J. (later Princeton Univ.), and after graduation in 1880 studied law for 4 years at Columbia Coll., being admitted to the bar in 1884. In 1885 he took the place of his brother Gustave in his father’s music pubi, business. Later he was rejoined by Gustave, and upon their father’s death in 1893, Rudolph became president of the firm, assuming sole control from 1907. In 1915 he founded the Musical Quarterly. Gustave Schirmer, third (b. Boston, Dec. 29, 1890; d. Palm Beach, Fla., May 28, 1965), son of Gustave Schirmer and grandson of the founder of G. Schirmer, Inc., inherited the Boston Music Co. from his father and acquired the Willis Music Co. of Cincinnati. He was president of G. Schirmer, Inc. from 1919 to 1921 and from 1944 to 1957. Rudolph E. Schirmer’s son, also named Rudolph Edward Schirmer (b. Santa Barbara, Calif., June 8, 1919), was vice-president from 1949 to 1965 and chairman of the board from 1965 to 1979 of G. Schirmer, Inc.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire