The Sembrich Museum: History, Collection, and Events October 20 2023
Marcella Sembrich: Her Life and Career
The Sembrich Museum originally served as teaching studio for Marcella Sembrich. She was a famed Polish musician, soprano, and teacher active throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sembrich's first performance in the opera took place in 1877 in Athens. She then moved to Dresden with her new husband, the pianist Wilhelm Stengel, and welcomed the first of her two sons.
[CLICKABLE IMAGE] An old cabinet photograph of Marcella Sembrich in her maturity by Charle L. Ritzmann
Marcella Sembrich showed her talent as a pianist and violinist at a young age while living in her homeland of Galicia. She used her skills to earn money to support her family and pay for her schooling at the Lviv Conservatory and later the Vienna Conservatory. Sembrich eventually began to study vocals alongside the violin and piano.
During her career, Sembrich made appearances across Europe and the United States until she retired from opera in 1909. She then toured as a concert singer for a decade. When World War I began, Sembrich and her family moved to New York City where she founded the American Polish Relief Committee to raise funds to send aid to Poland.
Two years after becoming a naturalized citizen in 1920, Sembrich purchased 55 acres on New York's Lake George. She built a studio on the land and taught summer sessions to her students from the Juilliard Graduate School and the Curtis Institute of Music, where she was director of vocal programs. Today, the studio still stands on 4.5 acres of the original land and The Sembrich serves as an Opera House, Museum, and Nature Preserve.
The Sembrich Museum: History, Collection, and Events
An external view of The Sembrich Museum
The Sembrich has been open to the public for over 80 years, honoring the legacy of Marcella Sembrich, presenting performances, and protecting the museum's collection. Patrons can view the exhibitions and take part in various programs from Memorial Day Weekend until Mid-October. Take a tour of The Sembrich Studio to view the collection of items that include:
- Books and sheet music from The Sembrich Collection
- Sembrich's Steinway piano from 1905
- Historic recordings on original records and digitized tracks
- A notice from Sembrich's singing days
- Marble sculptures from her studio in NYC
- Costumes and accessories worn by Marcella Sembrich
Internal view of the Piano Room
Also included in the collection are various objects of a personal nature, such as the Silver Punch Bowl from Marcella Sembrich's retirement from The Metropolitan Opera. Memorabilia like letters, awards, and photographs give a glimpse into Sembrich's impressive life and love of opera.
Learn more about Marcella's life and legacy with The Sembrich Interval. This collection of articles explores her solo performances and collaborations with other artists.
The Sembrich offers other educational materials about musical history through online programs. These are carefully curated and presented in a digital format to reach an extensive audience. The programs encompass articles, performances, and exhibitions presented through recordings, images, and videos.
An Internal View
Each summer, The Sembrich celebrates music with performances, events, and a summer musical festival. Attendees can enjoy concerts featuring amazing instrumental recitals and popular vocalists or take in a play performed by talented actors. Notable performers from past years included Lydia Zotto, Stephanie Blythe, members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Hyperion String Quartet, The Adironack Shakespeare Company, Simon Mulligan, Ayano Ninomiya, among others.
View of the lake from the interior
The Summer Festival celebrates the accomplishments of gifted artists through musical events and the Sembrich Film Series. Other notable events include a Children's Opera and Sound Trails, An Immersive Soundscape experience that listener enjoys while walking a nature path.
The Sembrich occasionally hosts special events throughout the year. A favorite is the outdoor, lakeside gala at the end of summer. The Sembrich also hosts private events, from weddings to group meetings to private concerts.
An Internal view
There is something for everyone at The Sembrich. Visit to learn about the life and accomplishments of Marcella Sembrich, browse the museum's collection, attend a musical performance, and enjoy the gorgeous views of the lakeside property. Plan a trip today to explore the estate and discover the unique cultural experience of The Sembrich.
Internal View - A collage of photographs of different artists over the wall
Visit The Sembrich's website by clicking here.
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