Graupner, Gottlieb

This early pioneer in music is called by Elson the "father of the American orchestra." Born a German, he was when young an oboe-player in the army, and after an honorable discharge from his regiment, in 1788, went to London. Here he played the oboe in Salamon's large orchestra during its performance of Haydn's symphonies in 1791, under that composer's direction. Within the next few years Graupner went to Charleston, South Carolina, where, in 1797 he married an able musician, who later sang in Boston concerts; for the next year they removed to that city, where they were a welcome addition to the musical society of the town, which boasted at that time about half a dozen professional musicians. In addition to the oboe, Graupner played the doublebass, clarinet and piano, and he immediately organized an orchestra, pressing into service a number of amateurs, including the Russian consul, as well as the limited supply of professional performers. This developed into the Philharmonic Society, of which  Graupner was the president during its entire existence, and by which the simpler classical works were attempted. The now forgotten symphonies of Gyrowetz, and at intervals those of Haydn, were among the standbys of this orchestra. Graupner became the most actively influential musician of Boston in his time, teaching, playing in concerts, and conducting a business in music selling and music-printing.