Henry Kleber

1816 – 1897

Henry Kleber immigrated at age 16 from the German city of Darmstadt with his family in 1832. Henry‘s first job in Pittsburgh was teaching music at an exclusive girls academy. A gifted tenor, he performed concerts beginning in 1836. Angered in 1850 by an unfavorable review from music critic Henry Shaad, he chased the music critic Into a store, beating him with a cowhide whip. He was fined $100 and court costs. Kleber was also a member of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Society, which was a forerunner of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Kleber also produce concerts with local and national artist. His concert with singer Jenny Lind caused a near riot in Pittsburgh. Lind-o-mania swept Pittsburgh in spring of 1851, when Henry booked the Swedish Nightingale for Tuesday nights of concerts on April 25 and 26, 1851 at Pittsburgh’s new Masonic Hall. About 15,000 tickets were sold, through an auction, at average prices of $7.50 (about $194 today). Thousands of people flocked into Pittsburgh from the surrounding towns in hopes of getting a seat at the concert. 

On the evening of the 25th, an immense crowd surrounded the Masonic Hall completely unnerving Jenny Lind. The Morning Post estimated the crowd outside the theater at about 7,000 to 8,000 people. 

Despite the intense noise from the crowd, Lind gave a great performance. The Morning Post paper wrote “Her voice is sweet as a warbling of birds.” But the second show was never held. In fear of the crazed Pittsburgh mob, Jenny Lind fled Pittsburgh in the middle of the night.