This exhibit explores the life of Rudolph Matz (1901-1988), a renowned cellist, music teacher, composer, and conductor.  It is based on the Rudolph Matz Collection in the Cello Music Collections at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  

Matz's Youth
Rudolph Matz was born in Zagreb, Croatia on September 19, 1901. He spent his youth in this city, where he would live most of his life. Matz excelled in both music and athletics.  

Paula Turk Matz, Rudolph's mother, was born in Croatia in 1881. She probably did not come from a very wealthy family because she entered domestic service as a girl. This photograph was taken in Zagreb around 1898, before she was married.

Mavro Matz, Rudolph's father, received a law degree at a young age and then spent most of his career in government service. A widower, Mavro Matz chose to marry Paula Turk, a woman forty years younger, who was serving as his principle housekeeper.

Born in 1901 in Zagreb, Rudolph was the only child of Mavro and Paula Matz. This is a photograph of Rudolph and his mother when he was about twelve years old.

Zagreb, Croatia, was the city of Matz's birth, where he spent his youth, and where he lived for most of his adult years. This is a view of the city from the Zagreb Cathedral's bell tower.

This is another photograph of Zagreb from the Rudolph Matz collection. The cathedral, which today remains the tallest structure in Croatia, serves as an iconic landmark in this city.

At age ten, Rudolph Matz was attending a music class at the Music Academy of the Croatian Music Institute. His first music teacher, Janko Slogar (1871-1946), encouraged him to begin playing the cello. The cello then became Matz's main instrument.

Matz continued his musical studies in Zagreb in his teen years. By his early 20s, Matz was performing in several orchestras there, conducting a choir, and composing choral works. This concert program from 1924 was for a solo cello concert.

Another concert program from December 1924 provides more evidence that Matz was an active solo performer on the cello at this time.

From a young age, Matz displayed a passion for athletics, in addition to his strong interest in music. A young Matz of nineteen or twenty here reaches the finish line to win a race. This was Matz's most treasured photograph of himself.

Matz, at the back, stands with three other track and field athletes.

Matz as Performer
Rudolph Matz performed music on the cello throughout his long life. From his early performances with chamber music groups to later concerts with his wife Margita, Matz, he interspersed performing with other musical activities. 

Matz performed with several different chamber music groups in Zagreb. This concert program for the Zagrebački Trio is dated December 3, 1927.

The GDI Quartet, another chamber music group, was formed in 1928. Matz performed as the cellist in this group.

Matz met his future wife, Margita Neustadt, while studying music at the Academy of Music in Zagreb. An accomplished pianist, Margita accompanied Matz in performances over many years.

Matz performs on the cello in Gary, Indiana, in 1955. Rudolph and Margita Matz lived in the United States from 1955 to 1957, after he was invited to train choirs for a Croatian singing festival. This photograph shows that he himself performed during this time.

Rudolph and Margita Matz perform in a Detroit home during their American sojourn.

Rudolph and Margita Matz sit together on a ship while returning to Europe following their stay in the United States.

Another photograph from the 1950s shows Matz in a cello performance.

Matz here plays the cello at home in 1980. This shows that he continued t0 play his beloved instrument into the final decade of his life.

Matz as Teacher
Matz taught music throughout his life.  His reputation as a cello teacher was so outstanding that the renowned American cellist and pedagogue Leonard Rose assessed that Matz was "perhaps the greatest cello theoretician in the world."

Matz, here, lectures in 1953. Especially from the 1930s onward, teaching music was a major aspect of Matz's career. He taught on the faculty of the Zagreb Academy of Music. He also opened a private music studio in his home.

Matz (second row, first on right) participates in a jury, apparently, for students at the Zagreb Academy of Music.

Matz (back row, fourth from the right) stands with Antonio Janigro and a group of cello students in Zagreb. A young Italian cello virtuoso, Janigro (back row, sixth from the left) came to Zagreb to teach at the Music Academy. He and Matz then collaborated extensively.

Matz speaks with a group of cello students around 1960.

Eight members of Matz's cello class stand with their cellos around 1960.

Matz (front row, second from left) sits with Antonio Janigro (front and center) and a group of students at a Bach seminar in 1962. Matz had many musical collaborations with Janigro, an Italian virtuoso cellist.

Matz teaches three young women who are apparently practicing chamber music. This took place around 1963.

Matz stands with a group of students at the Zagreb Academy of Music. Matz himself had studied at this school and then taught on the faculty for many years.

Matz conducts in a class at the Bayreuth festival in Bayreuth, Germany. Matz participated in this renowned music festival in the 1960s.

Matz sits with a group of young musicians with whom he worked at the Bayreuth festival.

Margita Matz usually accompanied her husband on his international trips. Here they are photographed in Bayreuth, Germany.

Matz demonstrates hand positions for the cello in a photograph, probably from the 1960s. Some of these photographs are labeled "Violoncelist i njegov instrumenat," or "The Cellist and His Instrument," apparently the name for a method book that Matz wrote.

In another photograph also probably from the 1960s, Matz demonstrates hand positions and bowing technique.

The Complete Cellist is a major work for those learning to play the cello. These two volumes are based on Matz's instructional materials. Lev Aronson, a German cellist who had a successful career in the United States, compiled and translated these books. Aronson has dedicated this book to his wife, Harriet.

These photographs of hand positions for playing the cello are included in The Complete Cellist, Book One. Lev Aronson here demonstrates cello technique.

From the 1960s onward, Matz was interested in ergonomics and teaching healthy forms of cello technique. The exercises depicted here are part of his paper "Violoncello and Ergonomics."

Slobodan Gospodnetić speaks with Matz in 1978. One of Matz's students in Zagreb, Gospodnetić emigrated to Canada in 1962. Matz and Gospodnetić remained in contact and visited each other in North America and Europe.

Rudolph and Margita Matz stand with Slobodan Gospodnetić in 1986. Through Dominis Music that he founded, Gospodnetić published works by and about Matz for an international audience.

The American cellist and music professor Margery Enix wrote an extensive biography of Matz. It is the major source of information for this exhibit. Dominis Publishing published the book in 1996.

Matz as Conductor
Matz conducted a number of different ensembles throughout his life, both in his native Croatia and in other locations in Europe and North America.

Matz started conducting various ensembles early in his career. Matz was known as a conductor in Zagreb by the 1930s, where Marijan Šimunić drew this caricature of him in 1933.

Matz conducts the first performance of his own composition, the Suite in F Major for Violoncello Ensemble, in 1950. Antonio Janigro (on Matz's left) plays in the cello orchestra.

Matz here rehearses with a cello orchestra for television in 1950.

Matz conducts a cello ensemble, probably in the 1960s. Matz was associated with a number of cello ensembles throughout his career.

Another photograph shows Matz conducting a cello orchestra that is performing in 1960.

Matz as Composer
Matz composed a number of original pieces of music. Gifted and well-trained in musical composition, Matz wrote much music for the cello.  He also composed for piano, violin, flute, string quartet, orchestra, voice, and other instrumentation.  

Matz composed music that continues to be performed today. Cellist Stjepan Hauser here performs Elegija (Elegy), the first movement of Elegija i humoreska (Elegy and Humoresque), in Zagreb in 2012. The Zagreb Soloists are the string orchestra. This is one of Matz's most recognized compositions.

Matz's Quartet in D Minor for Four Violoncellos is another well-known piece. Jadranka Gasparovic, Neva Begovic, Kresimir Lazar, and Valter Despalj perform this piece in a performance that was recorded at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival in August 2000.

This is a display of Matz's published musical pieces. It conveys some of the extent of Matz's body of work. Many photographs of Matz are also included.

Another display features a number of Matz's published compositions.

Matz wrote manuscripts for original music such as this in his own hand. This is a piece for violoncello and piano.

This is a page from Matz's "Baroque concerto for three violoncellos and harpsichord." Matz wrote this particular page with his own hand.

Matz both composed and arranged music. This arrangement of a piece by Louis de Caix d'Hervelois includes impressive cover illustrations by an artist, K. Dogan.

Over the course of a long life, Rudolph Matz made major contributions as a performer on the cello, a conductor of various ensembles, a music teacher, a scholar, and a composer.

An exhibit based upon the archive of Rudolf Matz preserved by the Special Collections & Archives of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Credits: Story

Thanks to assistance from Stacey Krim and the Special Collections and University Archives department at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Ethan Lindsay created this exhibition in the Spring of 2017. Rudolf Matz's collection is one of sixteen collections in the UNCG Cello Music Collection, and the vast majority of items included here are part of this collection of materials connected to Matz. For more information about this collection, see For the entire UNCG Cello Music Collection, please see the following hompage: or contact the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro at

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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