Kelley, Edgar Stillman

views updated May 17 2018

Kelley, Edgar Stillman

Kelley, Edgar Stillman, American composer and teacher; b. Sparta, Wise, April 14, 1857; d. N.Y., Nov. 12, 1944. He studied with F. Merriam (1870–74), then with Clarence Eddy and N. Ledochowsky in Chicago (1874–76). Subsequently he took courses at the Stuttgart Cons, with Seifritz (composition), Krüger and Speidel (piano), and Friedrich Finck (organ). Returning to the U.S., he served as an organist in San Francisco. He taught piano and theory at various schools and at the N.Y. Coll. of Music (1891–92). He was music critic for the San Francisco Examiner (1893–95), lecturer on music for the Univ. Extension of N.Y.U. (1896–97), and then acting prof, at Yale Univ. (1901–02). In 1902 he went to Berlin, where he taught piano and theory. From 1910 to 1934 he was dean of the composition dept. of the Cincinnati Cons. He publ. Chopin the Composer (N.Y., 1913) and Musical Instruments (Boston, 1925). With his wife, Jessie (née Gregg) Stillman Kelley (b. Chippewa Falls, Wise, 1865; d. Dallas, April 3, 1949), a pianist and teacher, he founded the Kelley Stillman Publishing Co., which brought out several of his scores. Although his stage and symphonic works were quite successful when first performed (some critics described him as a natural successor to MacDowell in American creative work), little of his music survived the test of time.


dramatic:Music to Macbeth, incidental music for Chorus and Orch. (1882-84; San Francisco, Feb. 12, 1885; rev. as the orch. suite Gaelic March); Pompeiian Picnic, operetta (1887); Prometheus Bound, incidental music (1891); Puritania, operetta (Boston, June 9, 1892); Ben Hur, incidental music for Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orch. (1899; N.Y., Oct. 1, 1900); The Pilgrim’s Progress, musical miracle play (1917; Cincinnati May Festival, May 10, 1918). orch.:Confluentia for Strings (1882; arranged from No. 2 of the 3 Pieces for Piano); Aladdin: A Chinese Suite (1887-93; San Francisco, April 1894); 2 syms.: No. 1, Gulliver: His Voyage to Lilliput (1900; Cincinnati, April 9, 1937) and No. 2, New England (Norfolk, Conn., June 3, 1913, composer conducting); Alice in Wonderland, suite (Norfolk, Conn., June 5, 1919, composer conducting); The Pit and the Pendulum, suite, after Poe (1925). chamber:Theme and Variations for String Quartet (c. 1880); Piano Quintet (1898–1901). Piano: 3 Pieces(1891); Lyric Opera Sketches (1894). vocal:A Wedding Ode for Men’s Chorus and Orch. (1882); Phases of Love, 6 songs for Soprano and Piano (1888); 2 songs (1901); O Captain! My Captain! for Chorus and Orch. (n.d.); A California Idyll for Soprano and Orch. (N.Y., Nov. 14, 1918); America’s Creed for Chorus and Orch. (1919).


M. King, E.S. K.: American Composer, Teacher, and Author (diss., Fla. State Univ., 1970).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Kelley, Edgar (Stillman)

views updated May 23 2018

Kelley, Edgar (Stillman) (b Sparta, Wisconsin, 1857; d NY, 1944). Amer. composer, organist, and author. Org. in S. Francisco and Oakland, mus. critic, S. Francisco Examiner 1893–5. Worked in S. Francisco 1880–6 and 1892–6, coming into contact with Chinese and their mus. Acting prof. and orch. cond., Yale Univ. Sch. of Music 1901–2. Taught in Berlin 1902–10, returning to USA to teach comp. at Cincinnati Cons. Works incl. incidental mus. to Macbeth and Ben Hur; 2 syms. (No.1 Gulliver—His Voyage to Lilliput, Op.15; No.2 New England); pantomime suite Alice in Wonderland; Pilgrim's Progress; pf. quintet; str. qt., etc.