Edwin H. Lemare 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. He obtained the F.R.C.O. in 1886. He became an organ professor and examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in 1892. He held a number of significant church positions, culminating at St. Margaret's Westminster. However, he often ran afoul of church authorities for treating church services in London as concerts. He left for a hundred-recital tour of the USA and Canada from 1900–1901, 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. He was also a very capable improviser; he recorded and transcribed some of his improvisations for publication. Of his many compositions for the organ, many are 'light music' designed to show off the tone and capabilities of the huge organs of his day, and have fallen out of favor. Unusually, his qualities as a composer are generally thought to have declined rather than improved with age; his first two organ symphonies are considered to rival those of his French contemporaries in quality.