George Elbridge Whiting (September 14, 1840 – October 14, 1923) was an American composer of classical music. He was born in Holliston, Massachusetts, he founded the Beethoven Society in Hartford, Connecticut when he was fifteen years old. He moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1862 and later to New York City. Whiting was a student of George Washbourne Morgan. He went to Liverpool, England, and studied with William Thomas Best, the leading British concert organist of the day. He later studied in Berlin with Carl August Haupt (harmony), Robert Radecke (orchestration), and others.
Whiting worked in various positions in Albany (St. Joseph's Church), New York and Boston. He succeeded John Henry Willcox as organist and choir master at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on the south side of Boston, where he composed his masses in C minor, F minor, and Eb major. In 1874, Whiting became organist of the Music Hall in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1878 he went to the Music Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was also for a time head of the organ department in the New England Conservatory.
I have no connection whatsoever to Whiting, but, in an odd way, I feel one. Why? Because the magnificent church of St. Joseph in Albany, NY, seating 1500 people was on my route going home every day during my time at the Episcopal cathedral in Albany. I had not realized that it had been closed in 1994. Whiting was St. Joseph's most famous organist. It was his first job after returning from England.
The thought of St. Joseph remains with me. After a number of failed business ventures, I believe it is now propery of the City of Albany. No doubt they are "praying" for a lightning bolt to set fire to it, or an earthquake to bring it down, but still, there it stands - massive, unmovable, abandoned... Yet, despite official deconsecration and obscene and pedestrian use, still the house of God. It was with these thoughts in mind that I recorded these pieces.