Obituary of Frederick Preston Search
Title: Frederick Preston Search Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1910-1957
Collection number: ARCHIVES SEARCH 1
Search, Frederick Preston, 1889-1959
Extent: Number of items: 132 items in 18 boxes
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Shelf location: For current information on the location of
these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
- Stephen Heron, the Search Ranch, Carmel Valley, California.
- Date of gift:
- In two installments: August 12, 1980 and February 16, 1981.
Collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in
writing to the Head of the Music Library.
[Identification of item], Frederick Preston Search collection, ARCHIVES SEARCH 1, The
Music Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Obituary of Frederick Preston Search
Frederick Preston Search, 70, famed as a cellist, conductor and composer and actively
identified with the early musical life of Carmel, died yesterday afternoon at his ranch
home near Jamesburg in upper Carmel Valley.
Mr. Search's death was unexpected, presumably following a heart attack. The exact cause
will be determined by autopsy.
A native of Pueblo, Colorado, he was born on July 22, 1889. His father, Preston W.
Search, was a noted educator, author and traveler and the entire family was musically
talented. The son's virtuosity was recognized at an early age; he earned his first cello
selling poultry, began his musical studies at 10, and at 13 made transcontinental concert
tours as a "boy prodigy."
He received the best musical training on two continents, beginning at 10 with a year
under the court cellist of Saxe-Weimar. This was followed by two years at the New England
Conservatory of Music in Boston under Josef Adamowsky; four years in the Cincinnati
College of Music; and five years at the Royal Conservatory of Leipzig, Germany, where his
cello teacher was the renowned Julius Klengel.
He also studied composition under Gustav Schreck, cantor of the famous Bach Choir;
harmony under Richard Hoffman; and conducting under Arthur Nikisch, considered the
world's greatest instructor in this field. During his five years at Leipzig, he served
continuously as European music critic for American magazines.
During the first quarter of the century, Search was recognized as one of the finest
instrumentalists in his field. He appeared in recitals in all the musical centers of this
country and Europe, and was first cellist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and
soloist with other leading orchestras.
He was no less widely known for his musical compositions, a long list of which have been
played by leading orchestras. They include cello solos, string quartets, concertos,
sonatas and two symphonies. He was composer of the "Festival Overture" which was played
at the San Francisco Exposition of 1915.
Mr. Search came to Carmel first in 1914. From 1920 to 1932 he directed the orchestra at
the old Del Monte Hotel and supervised the orchestra and chorus at Monterey High School
from 1927 to 1929. In 1932 and 1934 he made concert tours of the United States and during
those years first performances of his "Sixth String Quartet in D Minor" and "Cello
Concerto in A Minor" were given in Carmel. His "Bridge Builders" for soloists, chorus and
symphony, celebrating the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge was performed in 1938 with
the composer conducting.
During World War I Mr. Search canceled his concert engagements and volunteered his
services. He was appointed "First Musician in the Navy" and took over as head bandmaster
and orchestral leader at Mare Island. Among his violinists was Paul Whiteman.
Mr. Search was a former president of the Musical Art Club of the Peninsula and a member
of the American Composer's Alliance, National Association for American Composers and
Conductors and the Society for Publication of American Music. During World War II, with
his wife, whom he married in 1923, in Carmel, the former Opal Heron, he lived quietly
near Orinda, returning to the Peninsula in 1949, when he purchased a 300 acre ranch near
Jamesburg, remodeling the old Tularcitos adobe for their permanent home.
The couple has lived there in semi-retirement since that time, their main interest
raising prize Embden and African geese and a much sought after breed of English shepherd
His wife is the only close surviving relative.
Funeral services are pending at the Dorney and Farlinger memorial Chapel and will be
This obituary was written by his wife, Opal Piontkowski Heron Search.
(Monterey Peninsula Herald, November 10, 1959)