Composer and bandleader Julius Lenzberg
-- known as "Jules" to his friends and family -- hailed from Baltimore and began his career accompanying dancing lessons at the piano; his first composition, "Ball's Academy March" (1894), was dedicated to his employer. Lenzberg
had already published a few pieces by 1903 when he married and moved to New York City; thereafter he began a long round of jobs serving as an orchestra leader at various vaudeville houses in Manhattan -- in the summer, he led a band out on Long Island. After settling in Queens about 1910, Lenzberg
resumed his interest in composition and in short order produced his two masterpieces; "Hungarian Rag" (1913) and "Operatic Rag" (1914). Both were fashioned after pre-existing classical compositions, although Lenzberg
's transformations of them were suitably original and very well done -- many other composers who tried to mine a similar vein, at least within the context of ragtime, were not nearly as successful artistically.
In 1919, Lenzberg
served as director of the George White Scandals of 1919 and also led the house band at the Riverside Theater in New York. That year, Lenzberg
and the Riverside Orchestra
began to make records for Edison, and though Lenzberg
's recording activity ended in 1922, he was prolific, ultimately producing more than 50 sides for Edison, Standard Roll's Bell imprint, NYRL, Okeh, and Banner. Ironically, of his own compositions Lenzberg
recorded only one work, "Razzle Dazzle" (1919), which was his next-to-last published piece. Lenzberg
continued to lead a band, and to appear on radio once it emerged, into the '30s, but the depression knocked him out of the performing end of the business. The last Lenzberg
was heard of, in the early '40s, he was working as a booking agent.