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    by Anya Laurence

   Another of Connecticut's famous musicians, Dudley Buck was a celebrated organist and composer who was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on March 19,1839. Showing an early aptitude for music, he began piano lessons in Hartford (teacher unknown) and in 1858 was in Leipzig, Germany, studying with Moritz Hauptmann, Plaidy, Schneider and the piano virtuoso Ignaz Moscheles. After two years in Leipzig, Buck went to Dresden to continue organ studies with Schneider.

   In 1860, he returned to the United States to accept a position as organist at the North Congregational Church in Hartford. During this time he began touring throughout the United States as a concert organist, introducing works of the great masters to the American public. Later he became a faculty member of the New England Conservatory of Music.In 1875 he became assistant conductor to Theodore Thomas at the Central Park Garden Concerts. A founder of Brooklyn's Apollo Club's Male Chorus, Buck was also organist/choirmaster of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn.

His compositional output was vast, and included such large-scale works as 55 anthems for church use, 20 sacred songs and 4 Cantatas. In 1869 he produced a Motette Collection, which was a boon to the churches of the time, which had little access to well-composed works. Also among his compositions was the first organ sonata to be written in America and two other instructional books. He also composed a grand opera (unperformed); a comic opera “Deseret”; a Symphony in E-Flat; a symphonic overture “Marmion” and other works. One of his students was Harry Rowe Shelley (links to previous article at

   Buck's works may be heard on YouTube and include”The Holy Night”; Variations on “Old Folks at Home” and “The Star Spangled Banner Festival Overture.” Dudley Buck was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1898. He died on October 6, 1909, at the age of seventy. However, his music still sings on in churches across the world.

Dudley Buck


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