Arthur T. Cremin was born in 30 June 1900 in New York. He studied violin privately with Stevo Stoianovitch (1885-1960), a Serbian violinist, graduate of the Prague Conservatory and pupil of Otakar Sevcik. In 1921 Arthur Cremin founded the „New York Schools of Music“. Nearly immediately this music school became a successful and famous institution, a newspaper article from 1934 remembers:
„Years ago Cremin, a youth with a flaring shock of red hair, nailed up a sign above his Stanton street alcove offering music-lessons for the small sum of twenty-five cents. Deans of music jeered and rivals snickered that it couldn’t be done. The little alcove has become one of the largest music conservatories in the world, The New York Schools of Music.“
Arthur Cremin served as the director of the New York Music Schools and as the president of the „American Creative League of Music Students“ for many years and was a businessman as good as a musician. In 1937 he offered music lessons „on wheels“ in trailer trucks and founded a „Reminder Service Inc.“, a company to remember people about things.
He also wrote educational books on music, for example a graded violin method. And the newspapers from the 1930s and 1940s loved his controversial thoughts on music (look at the end of the page for examples) and wrote a lot about his ideas.
Arthur Cremin also composed music, but it is little known about his output. A composition called „The Story Teller“ was announced for performance at Carnegie Hall in 1934. In 1941 a newspaper announced the completion of "two original musical portraits, one of Louis Eilshemius, the other of Katharine Cornell".
After his retirement from the head of the New York Schools of Music Arthur Cremin still worked a few days a week at his music school until his death. The other time he took care of his wife and wrote poetry. Arthur T. Cremin died on 20 March 1985.
The „American concerto fantasy“ was written most likely around 1940. The manuscript mentions Barnabas Istok as an editor of the work (some fingerings and additions in a different handwriting - most likely Istok's hand - are in the manuscript). Barnabas Istok was a violinist and became faculty member of the violin section of the New York Schools of Music in 1936. The concerto fantasy consists of three movements: I. Rocky Mountains; II. Grand Canyon and III. New York City.
A computer realisation of the beginning of the first movement "Rocky Mountains":
A few examples of Cremin's statements (graded by year):
„Arthur Cremin, musician, author and head of the New York Schools of Music, has solved the reason for war in the Far East, he said today. „It's the kind of music they have in the Orient,“ he said, „the discordant, unharmonius strains, the shrill notes and nerve-wrecking squeals. That keeps the people all stirred up, and so they have to indulge either in war or revolution.“ (The Pittsburgh Press, 01.02.1932)
„National anthems, including „The Star-Spangled Banner“, are teaching men of the world to kill and destroy each other and therefore should be abolished. […] Mr. Cremin suggested that instead of the many national anthems one international anthem be written, by a group of international composers, to be sung in every country on state occasions.“ (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 13.11.1933)
„Declaring dance orchestras are corrupting the nation's youth, Arthur T. Cremin has called for the censoring of what he termed „obscene“ music“ (The Norwalk Hour, 02.12.1935)
„Arthur Cremin, director of the New York Schools of Music, has been conducting experiments and says that he can prove that music helps concentration. […] Mr. Cremin says that students should have the sweet music of Brahms or Mozart playing in the same room with them when they are doing their homework. […] But not all music can attain the desired effect, he warns. Only the softer and more melodious of the classics have proved satisfactory with the subjects he has studied; syncopated jazz and symphonic arrangements definitely will not.“ (Berkeley Daily Gazette, 09.04.1937)
„Arthur Cremin, director of the New York Schools of Music, thinks we ought to pass a law against swing music, and prepares a bill for introduction in the New York state legislature.“ (Herald-Journal, 10.02.1938)
„The latest opinion being breezed about New York is that it takes music – not only nature or cosmetics – to make a woman beautiful. […] He [Arthur Cremin] voiced the opinion that if you look around you, you will observe that the girls who appreciate music are a good deal prettier, and a sight fresher, than the girls who don't.“ (Beaver Valley Times, 26.10.1955)