Arthur Bird

From Wind Repertory Project
Arthur Bird


Arthur Homer Bird (23 July 1856, Belmont, Mass. - 22 December 1923, Berlin, Germany) was an American composer who lived most of his life in Europe. He was among the few Americans of his era whose music won approval by Europeans. Bird was also well known as a foreign correspondent, a music critic, and a pianist. In 1901 his Serenade for an octet of wind instruments won the Paderewski Prize.

Arthur H. Bird first learned music from his father and uncle; both were composers and compilers of hymn tunes. In 1875 he went to Germany and studied at the Berlin Hochschule with Albert Loschhorn (piano), Karl. A. Haupt (organ), and E. Rohde. In 1877 he became organist at St. Matthew's Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Bird went back to Europe in 1881 and studied music theory with Heinrich Urban in Berlin. In 1885 he went to Weimar and studied composition with Franz Liszt (who became a close friend). He was honored for his compositions at the Milwaukee Musical Festival during a short visit to America in 1886. During that same year he returned permanently to Germany and became well known after the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra gave a concert of his music. As Berlin correspondent for the Chicago journal Musical Leader, he often criticized Richard Strauss and other modern composers.

Bird's composition style was conservative. His music has been described as "richly harmonic, chromatic-tinged, lively, buoyant, cheerful, and often dance-like." His wind chamber works were similar in style to the courtly ensembles of the previous century, In addition to one comic opera (Daphne -- performed in New York on December 13, 1897), one ballet (Rubezahl -- Berlin, 1886), one symphony and 12 other orchestral works, 12 chamber works, 26 piano pieces, and four organ works, Bird wrote several scores for winds, including Galop for Military Band, Nonet, Serenade, and Suite in D.

Works for Winds


  • Burch-Pesses, Michael. "Galop." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 10, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 579-585. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2015.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 69.