Virkhaus, Adalbert and family, Papers

Finding Aid



Immigration History Research Center, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota

Descriptive summary

Abstract: Certificates, diplomas of Kirsti and Taavo. correspondence of the family, Journal "Triinu" article, newspaper clippings, programs, books: "Judging and Coaching Women’s Gymnastics" by K.Kjeldsen, C.O.Bowers, J.U.Fie, A.B.Schmid; "Who’s Who Gymnastics 1973" by US Gynastics Federation; "Su palet ma otsin" by L.-A.Parlo (poetry); "Ad Astra" by H.Visnapuu (poetry); "Elurada" by K.E.Sööt (poetry); "Juhan Simm Sõnas ja Pildis" (Tallinn 1975, book about J.Simm); "Mart Saar Sõnas ja Pildis" (Tallinn 1973, book about M.Saar); "Vari" by Juhan Liiv (Geislingen 1947, poetry); "Sinine Liblikas" by Karl Ristikivi (Stockholm 1946); Catalogue - A Representative Selection of Estonian Books and a Special Exhibit of Estonian Exlibris (1944-1972); 6 gift books about Estonia (1966-1975); church periodicals (3 pcs); "Selection Of Choral Songs" published by Estonian Singers Association (2 pcs)
Quantity: 1 linear ft.
Language: Estonian, English
Collection ID: IHRC3790


Collection transferred to the IHRC from the Estonian Archives in the U.S.A. (EAU) in 2003-2005. It was processed as part of a collaborative project between the Estonian Archives in the USA (Lakewood, NJ), the National Archives of Estonia (NAE), and the IHRC in March 2011. Gerli Raadik and Peeter Valjas of the National Archives in Tallinn, Estonia, worked with IHRC staff on the project.


Adalbert Virkhaus (Adalbert August Wirkhaus) was composer and conductor. He was born on 17.05.1880 in the village of Väägvere, parish Sootaga, Estonia, and died on 19.12.1961 in Fort Lauderdale, USA. He was a founder of Estonian brass music and as a follower of K.A. Hermann and Aleksander Läte he was one of the founders of Estonian national music and first professional Estonian conductor. He graduated in 1908 the Conservatory of Leipzig (Artur Nikischi conducting and Max Reger composition class). He worked in 1909-1912 in theatre "Estonia", 1912-1917 in society "Säde"=The Spark in Valga as conductor; 1918-1943 in Tartu as music teacher, he also conducted choirs and orchestras. He conducted first operas and operettas in "Estonia".

In 1944, he fled to Germany and in 1949 emigrated to USA where he continued his work as composer, conductor and organist. Father: David Otto Virkhaus (1837-1912; conductor and music figure; 1851-1912 conducted brass band of Väägvere); broher:Leo Virkhaus (1910-1984); wife: Helene Virkhaus (maiden name Sild, 24.12.1895-17.05.1992); son: Taavo Virkhaus; daughter: Kristi Virkhaus Kjeldsen. Kirsti (Kitty) Virkhaus Kjeldsen was born in Tartu, Estonia, on 02.03.1930 and died on 27.12.2004 in Norh Conoway hospital, USA. 1944 fled with her family to Germany. She studied at Estonian Gymnasium in Geislingen. 1949 emigrated with family to USA. Graduated from Springfield College with a degree in physical education (1956); later MA of Computer Science. Taught and coached women’s gymnastics at UMASS Amherst. She was director of the National Women’s Gymnastics Judging Association and worked at several financial institutions in the field of computer programming and analysis.

Taavo Virkhaus was born on 29.06.1934. He studied in Elementary School of Tartu Seminary for one and a half years. In 1944, he fled to Germany. There he continued his studies in Estonian Elementary School in Gesilingen and after that in Estonian Gymnasium in Geislingen. 1949 emigrated to USA. 1951-1955 he studied in University of Miami (field of study was music). 1957 graduated the University of Rochester Eastman Music School with MA of music theory, 1967 graduated same school with PhD. 1956 he made his debut in conducting with the Miami Ballet Guild orchestra. Since that he has been conducting several orchestras in USA, Canada, Europe and Russia. 1978 he got the first opportunity to conduct in Estonia (Estonian National Symphony Orchestra). T.Virkhaus has presented a number of Estonian composer’s works in America. T.Virhaus has worked in Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as conductor; University of Rochester. Eastman School of Music as assistant, professor, associate professor and director of music; West Miami Junior High School as music teacher (1955-1956); Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra as conductor and music director (1977-1994); Huntsville Symphony Orchestra as conductor (1989-2003). Social activities: The Eduard Tubin Society (member); Estonian American National Council (council member); corp. Fraternitas Estica (member); Estonian Mixed Choir in Buffalo (conductor, 1957-1961). Tartu City Government recognized him with the medal to honor his activities for carrying on Estonian music life abroad and for participating in Estonian and Tartu Song Festivals.



The Virkhaus, Adalbert and family collection is available for public research.


The Virkhaus, Adalbert and family collection is the physical property of the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRC.


The Virkhaus, Adalbert and family Papers, Estonian American Collection, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota

Detailed Description of the Collection

BOX 1.

FOLDER 1. School certificates, confirmation certificate and certificates of awards of Kristi and Taavo Virkhaus 1947-1952
FOLDER 2. Miscellaneous (address book, portrait photo of Nancy Virkhaus[?]; song-sheet of the funeral sermon of Adalbert Virkhaus, newspaper clippings)
FOLDER 3. Letters from Taavo Virkhaus and Kristi Virkhaus (Kjeldsen) to their mother Helene Virkhaus 1950s-1960s
FOLDER 4. Letters to Helene Virkhaus 1940s- 1970s
FOLDER 5. Letters to Helene Virkhaus 1950s- 1960s
FOLDER 6. Copies of periodicals "Triinu"(1977 No. 99; 1978 No. 101) with articles by Helene Virkhaus
FOLDER 7. Concert programs, song sheets