Theodore Presser

Theodore Presser (1848-1925)
Popular cover 1903)
Classical cover



Theodore Presser (1848-1925) started studying the piano, organ and composition at New England Conservatory in 1873. In 1876 he became head of the music department at Ohio Wesleyan University. From 1878 until 1880 Presser went on studying the piano and composition at the conservatory in Leipzig. He worked as a professor for music at Hollins College from 1880 until 1883 and in 1883 also at the Summer School at the University of Philadelphia.

In 1883 Presser founded the periodical The Etude, a magazine for music pedagogy which merged with Brainard's Musical World in 1895 and was easily the most well-known and widely circulated journal devoted to pianists and piano teachers until its closure in 1957.

In the same year as he founded his magazine, Presser established the Theodore Presser Music Publishing Company in Philadelphia, which was to become a significant publishing house. It published a wide range of works, from domestic songs to professional level piano works and chamber music.

The company increased its growth also by acquisition of other publishers, including Ditson (1937), Mercury and Elkan-Vogel (1970), among others. Presser enjoys wide representation in other countries as well, which can be seen by perusing its listing of worldwide affiliates. In 2001, the archive of the company was purchased by the Library of Congress.

Presser was also known as a philanthropist; he established the Presser Foundation in 1916 which includes the Presser Home for Retired Music Teachers and other charitable organizations.

Important acqusitions


  • Presser Collection

Imprints, Addresses, Agencies

The Theodore Presser Music Publishing Company was established in 1883 in Philadelphia.
In 1949, the company's head office moved to Bryn Mawr, a suburb of Philadelphia.
From 2004 on, the company has been concentrating its publishing and distribution business in its head office in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

  • Theodore Presser Music Publishing Company
  • Theodore Presser Company

Plate Numbers

Format: ##### - ## with the numbers after the hyphen being the number of music plates for the particular work.

Plate Composer Work Year
2205 Gilchrist Southern Lullaby, Schleifer 419 1897
2561-2 Zitterbart Jr. She's the Pink O' Country Lasses 1898
3489 Leschetizky Valse Chromatique, Op.22 1901
4903 Engelmann Apple Blossoms 1905
5051 Chaminade Valse-Caprice, Op.33 (1902)
5296 Thomas The Viking's Daughter (1903)
5319-9 Parker A Gipsy maiden, I (med. voice) 1903
7600 Hofmann Humoreske, Op.59 1909
8757 Sapelnikov Polka Caprice 1910
13011-25 Rogers Suite No.2 1915
14439-20 Holst Shooting Stars Galop 1917
15156 Carreño Mi Teresita (vn/pf arr. by A. Hartmann) 1918
16952 Wagner Die Walküre, WWV 86B (Ride of the Valkyries, Hutcheson pf arr.) 1920
18654 Beach Fantasia fugata, Op.87 1923
24030 Beach A Bit of Cairo 1928
25530 to 25532 Beach 3 Piano Pieces, Op.128 1932
30113 Sousa The Stars and Stripes Forever (pf6h arr.)
34002-6 Sousa The Stars and Stripes Forever (pts.)
P.C. 347 Bach Sinfonias, BWV 787-801 1937

Sources Consulted

  • 1. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie. New York and London: Macmillan Publications, 1980.
  • 2. Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. 2nd ed. Ludwig Finscher. Kassel ; Stuttgart: Bärenreiter ; Metzler, 2005.
  • 3. Theodore Presser Company, The Presser Story. 2001. (accessed 25.11.2010).
  • 4. Theodore Presser Company. Wikipedia article (accessed 29.11.2010).

Authority control

VIAF (Theodore Presser Company)