Edwin Henry Lemare (9 September 1865 – 24 September 1934) was an English organist and composer who lived the latter part of his life in the United States. He was the most highly regarded and highly paid organist of his generation, as well as the greatest performer and one of the most important composers of the late Romantic English-American Organ School.
He was born in Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight on 9 September 1865. He received his early musical training as a chorister and organist under his father (a music seller, also called Edwin Lemare) at Holy Trinity Church. He then spent three years at the Royal Academy of Music from 1876 on a Goss Scholarship, where he studied under Sir George Alexander Macfarren, Walter Cecil Macfarren, Dr Charles Steggall and Dr Edmund Hart Turpin, obtained the F.R.C.O. in 1886, and became an organ professor and examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in 1892.
He gained fame by playing two recitals a day, over a hundred in total, at the Inventions Exhibition in 1884. He gave bi-weekly recitals at the Park Hall, Cardiff, from 1886; this was followed by further appointments around Great Britain.
After apparently treating church services in London as concerts, he left for a hundred-recital tour of the United States and Canada from 1900/01, and stayed in North America for most of the remainder of his life. He also toured Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, where he helped to design the organs for Auckland Town Hall and Melbourne Town Hall. He died in Hollywood, California.
As a player, he had a very large repertoire and was in constant demand; he was the most highly paid organist of his day, and earned previously unheard-of sums when he went to America. He performed to as many as 10,000 people, and travelled the Atlantic so often that crew members of the ocean liners knew him by name.
See the First Comment for notes.
Photos of Lemare are attached below, as well as some churches where he served.