Gilmore, Patrick S(arsfield)

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Gilmore, Patrick S(arsfield)

Gilmore, Patrick S(arsfield), Irish-American bandmaster; b. Bally gar, County Galway, Dec. 25, 1829;d. St. Louis, Sept. 24, 1892. He went to Canada with an English band, but soon settled in Salem, Mass., where he conducted a military band. In 1859 in Boston he organized the famous Gilmore’s Band. As bandmaster in the Federal army at New Orleans (1864), he gave a grand music festival with several combined bands, introducing the novel reinforcement of strong accents by cannon shots. He won wide renown through the National Peace Jubilee (1869) and the World’s Peace Jubilee (1872), two monster music festivals held in Boston. In the former, he led an orch. of 1,000 and a chorus of 10,000, and in the latter an orch. of 2,000 and a chorus of 20,000. The orch. was reinforced by a powerful organ, cannon fired by electricity, anvils, and chimes of bells. After the 2nd jubilee, Gilmore went to N.Y., and, as a popular bandmaster, traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada, and also (1878) to Europe. He composed military music, dance music, and many arrangements for band. Some of his songs were popular. He claimed to be the composer of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” (1863), a song that remained a favorite long after the Civil War. The song bears the name of Louis Lambert as composer; this may have been one of Gilmore’s many aliases; at any rate, he introduced the song and started it on its way to popularity.


M. Darlington, Irish Orpheus: The Life of P. G. (Philadelphia, 1950).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Gilmore, Patrick S(arsfield)

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