Benjamin Johnson Lang
Benjamin Johnson Lang was born at Salem, Massachusetts, December, 28, 1837, and died in Boston, April 3, 1909.
He first studied with his father, and with F. G. Hill, but later went to Germany and became a pupils of Liszt and others.
He returned to Boston and became organist at Old South Church for twenty years, and also at King’s Chapel.
He was for twenty five years organist of the Handel and Haydn Society, and conductor of that institution, 1895-96.
He was conductor of the Apollo Club, 1868-1901, of the Cecilia Society, 1874-1907, and of the Chickering Production Concerts, 1904.
As a teacher he had had a great influence on American music, and among the most distinguished of his pupils may be mentioned Apthorpe, Ethelbert Nevin and Arthur Foote.
He was one of the first in America to appreciate the genius of Richard Wagner, and devoutly believed that a time would come when Wagner would be regarded as worthy to rank with Beethoven himself.
It is hard at this period to realize that there was a time when Wagner’s phenomenal genius was even questioned, but such a time existed, and Lang was a valiant fighter for the truth.
He also brought out several important works, new and old, which had hitherto been unheard in America, including the B Minor Mass of J. S. Bach, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, and works of equal importance.