Hullah, John (Pyke)
Hullah, John (Pyke)
Hullah, John (Pyke), English organist, writer on music, teacher, and composer; b.Worcester, June 27, 1812; d. London, Feb. 21, 1884. He was a pupil of William Horsley, and in 1833 he studied singing with Crivelli at the Royal Academy of Music in London. As a composer, he was entirely self- taught. At the age of 24 he produced an opera to a story by Charles Dickens, The Village Coquette (London, Dec. 6, 1836). Two other operas followed: The Barber of Bassora (London, Nov. 11, 1837) and The Outpost (May 17, 1838). In the meantime, he obtained the post of church organist at Croydon. He made several trips to Paris, where he became interested in the new system of vocal teaching established by Wilhem. He modified it to suit English requirements, and, with the sanction of the National Education Committee, he opened his Singing School for Schoolmasters at Exeter Hall (1841). The school became the target of bitter criticism; nonetheless, it prospered, and thousands of students enrolled. His wealthy supporters helped him build St. Martin’s Hall for performances of vocal music by his students. The hall was inaugurated in 1850, and it was destroyed by fire in 1860. From 1844 to 1874 Hullah taught singing at King’s Coll., and later at Queen’s Coll. and Bedford Coll. in London. He conducted the student concerts of the Royal Academy of Music (1870–73). In 1872 he became an inspector of training schools. He held the honorary degree of LL.D. from Edinburgh Univ. (1876), and was also a member of the Cecilia Soc. in Rome and of the Academy of Music in Florence. He ed. Wilhem’s Method of Teaching SingingAdapted to English Use (1841). He publ. A Grammar of Vocal Music (1843), A Grammar of Harmony (1852), A Grammar of Counterpoint (1864), The History of Modern Music (1862), The Third or Transition Period of Musical History (1865), The Cultivation of the Speaking Voice (1870), and Music in the House (1877). He also brought out 3 useful collections of vocal music: The Psalter, The Book of Praise Hymnal, and Whole Book of Psalms with Chants. He was the composer of the celebrated songs “O that we two were Maying.” Other popular songs are “The Storm” and “3 Fishers.” A Life of John Hullah was publ, by his wife (London, 1886).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire