John Hyatt Brewer

January 18, 2008

John Hyatt Brewer was an organist and composer; born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 18th 1856. For 7 years he was boy-soprano in various churches; and he was a vocal pupil of Walter, Cutler, and Wilder. He learned pianoforte and harmony from R. Navarro, and organ-playing under Diller, Caulfield, Whitely, and Dudley Buck (he was pupil of the latter for 5 years, in organ and composition). In 1871 Brewer began his career as organist at the City Park Chapel, passing to the Church of the Messiah (for 4 years), Clinton Avenue Congregational Church (for 4 years), and finally (in 1881) to the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church as organist and director, which office he held at least until 1899. He was an active member of the New York Musical Society, the New York State Music Teachers Association, the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences (he served as Secretary of the music department), Brooklyn Apollo Club (charter member and accompanist); co-founder of the American Guild of Organists. He conducted the Brooklyn Hill, Orpheus, Damrosch, and Boylston Glee Clubs, the Caecilia Ladies’ Vocal Society, and the Hoadley Amateur Orchestra. He was an instructor in voice, pianoforte, organ, and theory. His main works include: some 30 songs (sacred and secular), duets, quartets, anthems, glees, choruses and cantatas; also pieces for organ, pianoforte and strings; duos for organ and pianoforte; and a Suite for orchestra.

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