Selma Kurz was born in Biala, the poorer of two adjoining Austrian towns (the other was Bielitz), to a very humble Jewish family of eleven children. She grew up in Bielitz. (Today they are a single city known as Bielsko-Biała, in the Polish province of Silesia. While still a girl she was taken to a convent of nuns, with the hope that she might learn to be a seamstress; the nuns quickly discovered the beauty of her voice, however, and she also often sang in the local synagogue. These circumstances led local people to raise some money so that she could go to Vienna and audition for professor Gänsbacher, a prominent vocal teacher. Gänsbacher did not teach women, but wrote some important letters of recommendation. Little Selma was thus enabled to visit the imposing Schloss Totis, the Viennese residence, en villéggiature, of the famous patron of the arts, count Nicholas [Miklós]Esterházy de Galántha, who agreed to pay for her lessons with another prominent vocal pedagogue, Johannes Ress.
Once her career was established, Selma Kurz consulted such world-renowned voice teachers as Jean de Reszke in Nice and Mathilde Marchesi in Paris, as well as the soprano Felicie Kaschowska, well-known in Vienna; but she always called herself, above all, a pupil of Ress.
Selma Kurz Soprano 1874-1933 mp3 zip file 107 mb