Farmer, John


English organist and composer, who was born at Nottingham, a nephew of Henry Farmer, the wellknown violinist and composer. He was a student of the Leipsic Conservatory, and was under instruction from Andreas Spath at Coburg for a time. He lived at Zurich for several years as a music-teacher, and in 1862 was appointed musicmaster at Harrow School, a post he held till 1885, when he became organist at Balliol College, Oxford. Here he instituted a series of Sunday and Monday concerts for the performance of glees and part-songs, which were most successful. He also founded a musical society and devoted much time to concerts of an educational nature. He composed an oratorio, Christ and His Soldiers, which was produced at Harrow in 1878; a requiem; Cinderella, a fairy opera; nursery rhymes; quadrilles for chorus and orchestra; septets in C and D for piano, string and flute; and quintet for piano, and strings. He also edited the Harrow Glee Book, wrote school songs, marches and hymn tunes for high schools. For some years prior to his death, which occurred at Oxford, Farmer had been examiner for the Society of Arts. Farmer deserves special credit for his efforts to popularize good music among people who were more or less unmusical, and he will perhaps be best remembered for his work in this line rather than as a composer.