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Mozart in Concert Grove, Prospect Park

By Dan Brenner

Posted on May 8, 2019

Mozart in Concert Grove, Prospect Park, ca. 1897, V1973.2.294; Brooklyn oversize 19th century collection, V1973.002; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Have you ever wondered why a bronze bust of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart resides in Prospect Park? The story of how the world-renowned Austrian composer’s likeness came to be in Brooklyn dates back to the year 1897.

If you take a stroll through the southeastern side of Prospect Park in Brooklyn you will find yourself in Concert Grove. The area was originally designed for park-goers to leisurely enjoy live music in the nearby concert house and pavilion, surrounding themselves with the impeccable beauty of nature. In 1949, the concert house was demolished and the pavilion was turned into a snack bar, altering the landscape for more “modern times” as per City Planner Robert Moses. Years later in 1987, Concert Grove was restored back to its original splendor.  The grove is home to a collection of busts, several depicting prominent world composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Carl Maria von Weber, and as seen above, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The bust of Mozart was created by German-American Sculptor Augustus Max Johannes Mueller and cast in 1897. That same year, The United German Singers of Brooklyn won the bust in the 18th annual National Saengerfest, a choral competition held that year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the last week of June. The group donated their newly prized bust of Mozart to the City of Brooklyn and a dedication ceremony was held in the park on October 23rd, 1897.

Coincidentally, it seems the United German Singers of Brooklyn did quite well at their choral competitions. A few years earlier in 1894, the aforementioned bust of Beethoven had also been won by the group and donated to the park, as well as the bust of Weber some fifteen years later in 1909.

This image comes from the Brooklyn oversize 19th century collection (V1973.002). For more photographs of Prospect Park, please visit our image gallery here.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections; visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. [email protected].

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