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White ink autographed 8” x 10” original Fernand de Gueldre of Chicago matte, double-weight photograph of the American organist, composer and conductor with a three bar musical quotation of one of his works with the tempo modéré, the French moderato in B flat major.

DeLamater (1880-1953) studied piano and organ from childhood and received his first church position at the age of fifteen.  He then studied with the Canadian born, German trained organist George Herbert Fairclough in St. Paul Minnesota.  He then went to Chicago to receive further training from the famed German organist Wilhelm Middelschute who was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra organist and also taught Virgil Fox much later.  Whilst in Chicago he studied piano with Mary Wood Chase and conducting with Theodore Spiering.  DeLamater graduated from the small Michigan liberal arts school Albion College in 1900. His first position as organist and choir director out of college was at the New England Congregational Church in Chicago.  From 1901-1902 he took leave to go to Paris to study with Charles-Marie Widor and Alexandre Guilmant.  He returned to his church in where he remained until 1912. While employed with this church he also wrote music criticism for three Chicago papers, “The Chicago Inter-Ocean”, “The Chicago Record Herald”, “The Chicago Tribune”  and “The Boston Transcript”.  After a brief year as organist and choir director of the Church of Christ Scientist in Chicago, he was appointed organist and choir director of the Fourth Presbyterian Church also in Chicago where he worked from 1918-1936.

In addition to his work as an organist, DeLamarter also taught organ and composition at; Olivet College from 1904-1905, Chicago Musical College from 1909-1910, The University of Missouri, Ohio State University and The University of Texas.  His two most important pupils were composers Leo Sowerby and Leon Stein.  DeLamater was more of a friend and champion of Sowerby’s music, however, Sowerby sought organ lessons from his friend to polish his technique, so he qualifies as a pupil.  He played first performances of a number of Sowerby’s works for organ as well as orchestra including his “Comes Autumn Time” which he performed the first performance as an organ piece and then in 1917 as a conductor.  The work was such a hit it went around to the other three major American orchestras of the time, Boston, New York and Philadelphia, as well as Berlin and Vienna.

In 1911, DeLamarter succeeded Chicago Symphony Orchestra Music Director Frederick Stock as Conductor of the Chicago Musical Art Society.  In 1918, Stock decided to hire the organist in his old position of Assistant Conductor under Theodore Thomas to shoulder some of the burden of a long season. He retained the title until 1933 when he was re-titled Associate Conductor and stayed in the position through the 1936 season.  He also was named Director of the Grant Park Music Festival in 1935 to coincide with the completion of the Petrillo Music Shell.  He opened the Festival on July 1, 1935 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the “Huldigunsmarsch” from Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, Parlow’s arrangement of two of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances, Thomas’s Overture to “Mignon”, Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien”, Glazunov’s “Ruses D’Amour” and dances from Borodin’s “Prince Igor”.

DeLamarter was also a prolific composer.  His oeuvre includes a large number of works for solo organ, but also an array of symphonic works including 4 symphonies, overtures, suites, two organ concertos and a work for viola and orchestra he describes as a “dialogue” rather than a concerto, a la Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy”.  He also wrote chamber music, liturgical vocal music and songs.  His first symphony is available on YouTube as well as several of his organ works.  A number of his scores for organ including the two concertos are in the IMSLP on-line music library.

Amusingly he was hired to conduct the orchestra in the 1946 Joan Crawford—Johnb Garfield headlined film “Humoresque” with music by Franz Waxman.

Today, he is best remembered as an organist and composer for the organ.  That said, we thoroughly recommend you listen to the recording of his 1st Symphony on YouTube which is a quite unknown Romantic masterpiece.