Woolf, Benjamin Edward



Musical critic and composer; born in London, and descended from a line of operatic conductors. His father, Edward Woolf, came to New York when the boy was three years old and identified himself as a teacher, composer and orchestral leader. He received instruction from his father in the elements of music and on various instruments. Later he studied the organ under William R. Bristow of New York. He became very successful as a conductor of theatre orchestra in the cities of Boston, Philadelphia and New Orleans. At this time he was also composing overtures, choruses, incidental music to plays and music to numerous ballets. In 1870 he gave up his orchestral work and joined the staff of the Boston Globe, shortly after leaving for the Saturday Evening Gazette, a weekly paper of some social influence, and in his later years he was musical critic of the Boston Herald. He died in Boston. Woolf wielded much influence through his musical ability and at one time was bitterly opposed to Wagnerian music. His comic operas Pounce and Co. and Westward Ho are among the best of their class. He wrote the libretto of Eichberg's Doctor of Alcantara. His play, The Mighty Dollar, written for Mr. and Mrs. Florence, was popular for many years though undergoing changes from time to time. He composed the operatic comedietta, Lawn Tennis, or Djakh and Djill and others which were not given, also madrigals, overtures, string quartets and symphonies, though the last named have remained in manuscript and were never publicly performed.