In the period before the Civil War, German singing societies sprang up across America, created to preserve and promote German cultural and musical traditions. On January 9th, 1847, a group of 25 men of German heritage founded Deutscher Liederkranz der Stadt New York, a male singing society dedicated to the promotion of vocal and instrumental music.
The well-known business leader and developer, William Steinway of Steinway Pianos, served as President of the society intermittently from 1867 until 1896. Steinway was able to raise enough money to build the original Liederkranz Club building at 111 East 58th St. The acoustics in the original building were so good that it was at one point used by RCA Victor for recording sessions.
The men of the Liederkranz Club have served their country since the Civil War and the original building on 58th St. was offered to the government to use for the duration of the First World War. During World War Two, as well as fighting against Germany in the war, Club members bought more than eight million dollars worth of War Bonds.
Unfortunately, both world wars left the Club with greatly reduced numbers and as a result, the building on 58th St. had to be sold. The present building on East 87th St, originally the Henry Phipps townhouse, was purchased through the generosity of loyal Club members.
The Liederkranz of the City of New York is considered one of the finest choruses in the country and was once invited to perform at the White House by President Roosevelt. The society also has a long-standing relationship with the Metropolitan Opera and since 1951 has awarded the Liederkranz Scholarship to worthy young artists who have moved on to great musical careers worldwide.