The Pittsburgh Foundation

Harvey Gaul Music Composition Contest Fund

Established: 12/19/1950

Harvey Gaul was an American composer and choral master, best known locally as the organist for the Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside where he served for 35 years until his death in 1945.

Born in New York City on April 11, 1881, he began his musical studies with George LeJeune and Dudley Buck and completed his training with masters in Great Britain and France. He subsequently honed his professional skills as organist and choral director through church postings at St. John's Chapel in New York and the Emmanuel Church in Cleveland.

After settling in Pittsburgh, Harvey became interested in the life and works of Pittsburgh native Stephen Foster. After his death, his collection of anecdotes was published in the Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine (1951) under the title "Minstrel of the Alleghenies." He also was music critic and arts editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, conductor of both the Pittsburgh Civic String Orchestra and Savoyard Opera Company, and the first music director of KADA radio station in 1920.

A prolific composer, he wrote more than 500 works for organ and church choir during his lifetime. One of his most enduring works for choir is I Hear America Singing (1925), a setting of Walt Whitman poetry published in separate versions for mixed chorus, women's chorus, and men's chorus with soprano soloist.

This fund supports the Harvey Gaul Composition Competition, a biennial contest that recognizes composers for their outstanding work and memorializes Gaul's commitment to music and music composition. The contest is administered by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.

Type of Fund

  • Designated