Bohumir Kryl

Contact artist


Bohumir Kryl (1875-1961) was one of the first virtuoso performers to be immortalized by audio recording technology.He
arrived in the United States at the age of 14, having spent 3 years as a
circus performer in Bohemia after running away from home.Kryl
picked up the cornet after an injury during his time in the circus,
becoming proficient enough to perform in street parades only after a few
weeks.In 1894 he approached Albert Bode, cornetist for the
renowned Sousa's Band, for cornet lessons during one of their
Indianapolis appearances. After hearing Kryl play Bode said:That boy wants to take lessons from me, but hell, I can't teach him anything, he's better than I am.Bohumir
played for Sousa's Band until 1898, after which he performed in various
outfits finally establishing his own band in 1906.His dazzling
performances and flamboyant looks wowed and thrilled crowds, as this
radiant review from the Los Angeles Examiner shows:About
Kryl there is no question – even without his wonderful mass of tangled
flaxen hair he would be a musical wonder. He is both and artist and
magician. Caruso of the golden voice might almost envy Kryl his
artificial golden throat, for Kryl sings through his cornet with a rich,
clean-cut tone that carries no suggestion of metal with it – May 16,
1905.He continued to perform well into his 60s to welcoming
crowds and sold out venues, having also made dozens of solo recordings
for Columbia, Edison Victor, and Zonophone.The three selections for this week showcase his genius during the cylinder era."Carnival of Venice"
is Kryl's signature performance, showcasing his absolute mastery of the
cornet with elaborately fast passages and a difference tone so low his
cornet seems to morph into a trombone or tuba even. "Ben Bolt"
is a somber meditation that shows off his subtle touch and effortlessly
melodious tone, reminding us that virtuosity isn't always about being
the fastest or flashiest performer.  "Du, Du", on the
other hand, is a whimsical look into his upper register technique with
trills so fast and flamboyant at times it appears that two cornetists
are playing in absolute lockstep. Nevertheless, his speed and accuracy
never prevent his personality from beaming through.-Berto Solis, June 22nd 2011