Timm, Henry Christian

1811-1892

 

Pianist and choral conductor, who had much influence on early music in New York; was born at Hamburg, Germany, where he studied harmony and piano with Albert Methfessel and Jacob Schmitt. In 1828 he made his debut as a pianist under the direction of Methfessel and he played trombone in the Stadttheatre Orchestra, then under the leadership of Carl Krebs, who was also his manager for several concerts in which, with Jacob Schmitt, he played two pianos. He came to the United States in 1835, and, after giving concerts at Boston, Newburyport and Salem, he went to New York. For a time he was second horn in the Park Theatre Orchestra and organist of Grace Church. Then he went to Charleston, South Carolina, as musical director. He went to New York and became chorusmaster at the new Opera House in Church Street. He became organist at St. Thomas' Church on Broadway, near Eighth Avenue, and served in that capacity at All Souls on Fourth Avenue; but it is in connection with the New York Philharmonic Society, of which he was president from 1847 to 1864, that he had most influence on music. He was director of the Musical Institute, which had a chorus of one hundred and twenty and an orchestra of sixty, and gave oratorios and cantatas of the great masters of classic and modern schools. It was largely due to his efforts that in 1849 the choral societies of New York united into what became the greatest choral society of its time. He was well known as a teacher of piano and harmony. He wrote some excellent transcriptions of classic pieces, notably Weber's Invitation a la valse; two of his Grand Sonatas; two of Clementi's sonatas; Wollenhaupt's Cinq morceaux en forme d'etude; Mendelssohn's As the Heart Pants; and Spohr's Last Judgment. He composed a grand mass in F, for solos and chorus; canons, transcriptions for two pianos; two of Bach's preludes and tarantelle, and variations for two pianos; four part-songs, without accompaniment.