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Richard E Hildreth

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Richard E. Hildreth (6 August 1867, Middlesboro, Yorkshire, England – 29 May 1941, Cambridge, Mass.) was a British-born American publisher, composer and conductor.

At the age of 12, Hildreth immigrated to the United States with his parents, who settled in the Boston area. He became proficient on several instruments, and, starting at the age of 18, he conducted numerous town band concerts in the Boston area.

Hildreth eventually settled in West Sommerville, Massachusetts, and obtained employment with the Walter Jacobs Publishing Company in nearby Boston. This was the beginning of a 40-year period during which he served as the head of Jacobs’ music department. His compositions and arrangements brought him considerable fame. He was especially popular as a composer of music for school bands.

Some of his more popular band overtures are Chicot the Clown, Mystic Knights, and Carillon. His fantasy, Sequoia, was played several times by the Goldman Band, and Sousa frequently performed Hildreth’s works at concerts. His compositions, arrangements, and transcriptions number over 6, 000 and include two operettas, many choruses and songs, a cantata with string quartet, and many large-scale band, choral, and orchestra works. Usually, he wrote his own lyrics.

Hildreth was also an active and popular bandmaster. During the depression years, he often conducted the WPA Commonwealth Federal Band at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common. These concerts were presented at noon on weekdays and in the afternoon on Sundays, attracting audiences that were appreciative of Hildreth’s own compositions. Many of those were performed from manuscript.

After the death of his wife in 1929, Hildreth lived alone until failing health forced him to move into a local rest home. Nevertheless, during the last years of his life at the rest home, he produced many popular compositions. Shortly before he died, he completed a book of arrangements and compositions entitled Picturesques for Band. At the time of his death, he was composing a symphony, two movements of which had already been performed in public.

Works for Winds