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Alfred Nilson Fysher

(also known as: Alfredo Nilson Fysher, Nelson Fysher, Nielson Fysher, Nilson Fyscher, Nilson Fisher, Nylson Fysher)

Alfred Nilson Fysher, or commonly known only as Nilson Fysher, was an entertainer to the core. It is little known about his early biography and this starts with the question if Alfred Nilson Fysher was his real name and if Nilson Fysher was the real spelling. This is even more doubtful because of the many different notations of his name in newspaper articles, on printed scores, etc. I choose here the spelling "Nilson Fysher" because that is the way he signed the autograph manuscript in my possession.


As far as I know Alfred Nilson Fysher was born on 17 August 1871 in Smyrna (Turkey) to English parents. His cousin was Maurice Farkoa (1864-1916), a famous musical comedy actor and singer who worked with him later. It is nothing known about the youth and studies of Nilson Fysher. But sometime around 1900 he must have been started to do shows in London, singing himself but also organising a big show around with other performers like his cousin Maurice Farkoa. He became that famous that Nilson Fysher sang before the Prince of Wales by special request and received an invitation to sing in St. Petersburg before Prince Ouroussoff.

Nilson Fysher then opened a cabaret in Paris in 1908 which he called "Chez Fysher". This establishment was located at Montmartre, first at the rue d'Antin, later at the rue Moliere and became soon one of the hottest night life attractions in Paris and the place to be. The prices for champagne were expensive and only the high society could afford a night at "Chez Fysher". And the theatre was so tiny that the guests were even handpicked from the upper ten thousand which increased the classiness of the scene. And then there was the exclusive lists of performers.


The programs at the "Chez Fysher" hosted many famous singers and musicians of the cabaret era like Fréhel, Yvonne George, Lucienne Boyer, Cora Madou, Arletty, Gaby Montbreuse, Lys Gauty, Loulou Heguburu, Dora Stroeva, Bétove, Damia, Henri Fursy, Charles Fallot, Mauricet or Alfred Pizella. The composer Georges van Parys made his debut on the piano at the "Chez Fysher" in 1924. The drawing of Nilson Fysher on the right side was portrayed by Enrico Caruso, the world-renowned opera singer, in 1910. This clearly shows that Nilson Fysher and his carabet were "en vogue".

The "Chez Fysher" was that successful that Nilson Fysher opened branches in New York in 1916 and in Biarritz in 1925. The "Chez Fysher" in New York hosted performances of Irene Bordoni or Rudolph Valentino.

Nilson Fysher did not only run the "Chez Fysher" as a manager and host, but also had performances himself. He composed many songs, sometimes both music and words, sometimes only the one or the other. His most famous songs are "Folie", which was recorded by Carlos Gardel; "Un peu d'amour", "Paradis du reve", Prends-moi", "Joujou" and "Tout n'est que songe".


Alfred Nilson Fysher died on 7 January 1931 in Paris (France).

In my possession is an autograph music manuscript of the composition "Petit Joujou" by Alfred Nilson Fysher. The work is a little song for chant and piano. The work was composed in 1921 in Paris and Nilson Fysher has signed the manuscript twice. Curiously the composition is complete, but lacks the words for the singer. Maybe the melody has to be sung vocalised, or Nilson Fysher somehow forgot to write the text in the score. The composition remains unpublished and as far as I know unperformed.

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