20th December 1826
26th July 1890
Otto Dresel was an American pianist, music teacher and composer of German birth.
He studied with Moritz Hauptmann in Leipzig, and received guidance from Ferdinand Hiller and Felix Mendelssohn. He came to the United States in 1848. His participation in the revolutions of 1848 in Germany were a factor in this decision. And after 1848, faster and safer steamers encouraged European musicians, especially those from Germany, to come to the United States to teach and perform. In New York City, Dresel joined Theodore Eisfeld in presenting concerts.
Cover of Dresel's "Army Hymn," text by Oliver Wendell Holmes (Boston: G. D. Russell, 1863)
In 1852 he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he lived until his death in Beverly, Massachusetts. He was well known as a pianist in Boston; as a composer he wrote mainly chamber music and songs, as well as larger-scale settings of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow andOliver Wendell Holmes for soloists with orchestra.
Dresel concentrated his energies on the selecting the highest quality music for his performances, and he eschewed displays of facile brilliance as were emphasized by musicians such as Europeans like Henri Herz and Sigismond Thalberg and the American Louis Moreau Gottschalk. He fostered the appreciation of Bach and Handel in the United States, and was a vigorous promoter of the songs of Robert Franz.