Henry or Henri Berger (August 4, 1844 – October 14, 1929) was a Prussian Kapellmeister composer and royal bandmaster of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi from 1872 to 1915.
Berger was born Heinrich August Wilhelm Berger in Berlin, and became a member of Germany's imperial army band. He worked under the composer and royal bandmaster of Germany, Johann Strauss, Jr. Originally, Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany loaned Berger from his Potsdam station to King Kamehameha V to conduct the king's band. He arrived in Honolulu in June 1872, fresh from service in the Franco-Prussian War. In 1877, King Kalākaua appointed Berger to full leadership of the Royal Hawaiian Band. In 1879, he became a naturalized citizen of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Berger befriended the future Queen Liliʻuokalani, a composer in her own right. Berger arranged the songs she wrote, performed by the brass band. The queen named Berger the "Father of Hawaiian Music". From 1893 to 1903, the bandmaster worked with the Kamehameha Schools to develop its music program. He also built what is today the Honolulu Symphony.
He led the government band at thousands of public events. Among these were "steamer day," when a ship left the Honolulu docks. The band serenaded the departees with "Auld Lang Syne," or "The Girl I Left Behind Me."
Later in his tenure as royal bandmaster, Berger took it upon himself to record traditional Hawaiian hymns, chants and other Hawaiian music in print to ensure their survival, a task never done before. Berger at the same time composed the classics: "The Hula March", "Hilo March", "Kohala March" and "Sweet Lei Lehua." His arrangement of "Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī", with text by Kalākaua in honor of Kamehameha became the national anthem. Today, the song serves as the state anthem.
Berger combined German, Austrian and Hawaiian traditions in his unique compositions and performed with the Royal Hawaiian Band thousands of times, making Hawaiian music known and popular in many countries. Berger started the RHB 'Aloha" welcome and farewell greetings at the harbors.
He died in Honolulu. His resting-place is the Kawaiahaʻo Church Cemetery.
Robert Louis Stevenson mentioned Berger in his novel The Bottle Imp.
Berger's legacy continues today, celebrated worldwide especially in Hawaii and Germany, as the father of the Royal Hawaiian Band, the oldest municipal band in the United States.
Birth and Death Data: Born August 4th, 1844 (Berlin), Died October 14th, 1929 (Honolulu)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1904 - 1938
Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, arranger, trumpet
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||B-2392||10-in.||3/22/1905||Hawai ponoi||Arthur Pryor's Band||Band||composer|
|Victor||B-15493||10-in.||12/12/1914||Kohala march||David K. Kaili ; Pale K. Lua||Guitar duet (Hawaiian), unaccompanied||composer|
|Victor||B-19193||10-in.||2/19/1917||Hawaiian medley no. 2||E. K. Rose||Guitar solo (Hawaiian)||composer|
|Victor||B-20849||10-in.||10/11/1917||Ua like no a like||Tandy MacKenzie||Male vocal solo, with orchestra (Hawaiian)||arranger|
|Victor||BVE-89130||10-in.||4/10/1935||Hilo march||Royal Hawaiian Band||Band (Hawaiian)||arranger|
|Victor||BVE-89133||10-in.||4/10/1935||Hawaii ponoi||Royal Hawaiian Band||Band (Hawaiian)||composer|
|Victor||BS-019697||10-in.||2/21/1938||Hilo march||Honoluans ; Daivd Kaonohi||Instrumental ensemble (Hawaiian)||arranger|
|Victor||BS-022645||10-in.||before 4/27/1938||Hawaii ponoi||Royal Hawaiian Band||Re-recording : Band (Hawaiian)||composer|
|Columbia||39804||10-in.||2/2/1915||Ua like no a like||Toots Paka Hawaiian Company||Male vocal and instrumental ensemble, with guitar and/or ukulele (Hawaiian)||arranger|
|Columbia||45862||10-in.||7/16/1915||Ua like no a like||Pale K. Lua||Steel guitar solo (Hawaiian)||arranger|
|Columbia||46877||10-in.||6/22/1916||Kaui kahio medley||Biltmore Kalaluhi Hawaiian Orchestra||Instrumental ensemble (Hawaiian)||arranger|
|Columbia||77301||10-in.||8/29/1917||Hawaiian echoes||Frank Ferera ; Irene Greenus ; Helen Louise||Instrumental trio (Hawaiian)||arranger|
|Columbia||80394||10-in.||6/10/1922||Ua like—noa like||Ferera's Hawaiian Instrumental Quartet||Instrumental quartet (Hawaiian)||arranger|
|Columbia||W146652||10-in.||5/18/1928||Hilo march||Charlie Wilson Trio||Instrumental trio (Hawaiian)||composer|
|Columbia||W147814||10-in.||1/18/1929||Hilo||Andrew Aiona's Saxophone Trio ; Sol Hoopii's Novelty Trio||Instrumental trio and saxophone trio (Hawaiian), with vocal solo||composer|
|OKeh||431||10-in.||ca. Oct. 1918||Kohala march||Hawaiian Troupe||Instrumental ensemble (Hawaiian)||composer|
|OKeh||S-71001||10-in.||Nov. 1922||Hawaii ponoi||Prince Lei Lani||Male vocal solo, with instrumental trio||composer|
|OKeh||S-71573||10-in.||May 1923||Kohala march||Ferera and Franchini||Guitar duet (Hawaiian)||composer|
|OKeh||W402315||10-in.||3/14/1929||Kohala march||Scottdale String Band||String band||composer|
|Brunswick||LAE163-LAE164||10-in.||Mar. 1928||Hilo march||Johnny Noble's Hawaiians ; Moke Trio ; M. K. Moke||Instrumental ensemble, with steel guitar solo and guitar trio (Hawaiian)||composer|
|Edison||5090||10-in.||10/24/1916||Kaala||Ford Hawaiians||Male vocal solo and male vocal ensemble, with instrumental ensemble||composer|
|Edison||5097||10-in.||10/26/1916||Kohala march||Ford Hawaiians||Instrumental trio (Hawaiian)||composer|
|Edison||5107||10-in.||10/27/1916||Ellis march||Ford Hawaiians||Instrumental duet (Hawaiian)||composer|
|Gramophone||123h||10-in.||ca. 1904||Aufziehen der Schlosswache||Seidler's Orchester||Orchestra, with trumpet solo||instrumentalist, trumpet|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Berger, H.," accessed November 26, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111709.
Berger, H.. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved November 26, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111709.
"Berger, H.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 26 November 2020.
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