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Zo Elliott

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Zo Elliott


Alonzo “Zo” Elliott (25 May 1891, Manchester, NH - 24 June 1964, Wallingford, Conn.) was an American composer, remembered more for his popular songs than his other compositions.

Elliott began composing at fourteen. His earliest songs include Tulips (1907), Captain of the Crew (1908), and The Phillipien March (for a football game between Phillips Academy and Phillips Exeter Academy in 1908). His choral works include an opera, El Chavato, as well as numerous popular songs. He also wrote extensively on music topics.

Elliott received his education at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H.; Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.; Yale University; Trinity College Cambridge; Columbia University Law School; and the American Conservatory at Fontainebleu, France, where he studied harmony with Nadia Boulanger. His other principal music teachers included Leonard Bernstein and Robert Zell (conducting), Willy de Sadler (voice), and Harry Wittemore (piano).

While Elliott was in Europe touring Germany in 1914, the war broke out, but he fortunately escaped to Switzerland - where he found a sizeable sum of royalty money from There’s a long, Long Trail. He served as a corporal in the U.S. Army Signal Corps when America entered the conflict. During his lifetime he guest conducted numerous orchestras, bands, and choirs in performances of his songs and marches.

His most famous tune, There’s a Long, Long Trail, was written before World War I with lyricist Stoddard King when both were seniors at Yale University. With its romantic melody and lyrics (including several parodies) the song became one of the most famous of all American war tunes. During World War II, it became the signature tune of the radio series Chaplain Jim.

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