Fillmore, (James) Henry (Jr.)

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Fillmore, (James) Henry (Jr.)

Fillmore, (James) Henry (Jr.), American band-master and composer; b. Cincinnati, Feb. 3, 1881; d. Miami, Fla., Dec. 7, 1956. His paternal grandfather was August Damerin Fillmore (2nd cousin of President Millard Fillmore); his father, James Henry Fillmore, and his uncles Fred A. and Charles M. Fillmore were the founders of the Cincinnati music publishing firm of Fillmore Bros. Co. Henry Fillmore was educated at the Miami (Ohio) Military Inst., and later at the Cincinnati Coll. of Music. As a bandmaster, he led the Syrian Shrine Band of Cincinnati to national prominence in the period from 1920 to 1926, making several transcontinental tours. In 1915 he founded the Fillmore Band, which was one of the earliest bands to make regular radio broadcasts (1927–34). In 1938 he moved to Miami, Fla., where he conducted bands at the Orange Bowl. He is best known, however, as the composer of numerous popular marches (Americans We, Men of Ohio, His Honor et al.), second only to Sousa’s in their tuneful liveliness. He was also the leading proponent of the “trombone smear/7 a humorous effect of the trombone glissando. He used numerous pseudonyms in his publ. pieces (Al Hayes, Harry Hartley, Ray Hall, Gus Beans, Henrietta Moore, and Harold Bennett, under which name he publ. the popular Military Escort March). He was also a compiler of sacred songs and tune books. In 1956 he received an honorary D.M.A. degree from the Univ. of Miami (Fla.).


P. Bierley, Hallelujah Trombone: The Story of H. F. (Columbus, Ohio, 1982); idem, The Music of H. F. and Will Huff (Columbus, Ohio, 1982).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire