Alex Lithgow

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Gippsland MarchThe Boomerang
Alexander Frame Lithgow (1 December 1870 in Glasgow – 12 July 1929 in Launceston, Tasmania) was a Scottish-born, New Zealand and Australian based composer and bandleader known as the "Sousa of the Antipodes". His name is pronounced "Alek" by his family.
In 1876, the Lithgows emigrated to Invercargill, New Zealand. Aged 6, Alex went to Invercargill Grammar School (now Invercargill Middle School). He attended Invercargill's Presbyterian Church, First Church. He liked Ice Hockey, the Circus and Rugby. His family was musical, performing as the six-member Lithgow Concert Company around Southland.
1881 At the age of 11 having had lessons on the cornet initially by his father, Alex joined the local brass band the Invercargill Garrison Band. Alex also learnt the violin to a very high standard.
1886 At the age of 16 he advanced to be the band's solo and principal cornetist. However, despite often being stated, he never was this Band's conductor.
1887 At the age of 17 his first composition, 'Wairoa', was published. This was named after a ship at the band was playing on at the Invercargill estuary.
Alex played for the Star Rugby football club in Invercargill.
Alex played with the Theatre Royal orchestra as first violin. He won national solo cornet titles for the next few years.
1893 At the age of 23 he toured New Zealand as a professional soloist.
1894 Aged 24 he left New Zealand and moved to Australia where became conductor of the St Joseph's Total Abstinence Society Band in Launceston Tasmania. He earned his living as a compositor at The Examiner and the Daily Telegraph.
1900 Alex aged 30 married Elizabeth Hill Telfer at a Presbyterian church at Launceston on 6 June.
1901 He came back briefly to New Zealand to conduct the Woolston Band at Christchurch where at a charity concert the band performed an entire concert of his compositions.
1903 He went back to Launceston St Joseph's Band.
1904 At the age 34 he started the Australian Army's 12th Battalion Launceston Regiment Band.
1909 He spent his time conducting and being a spontaneous composer for the silent film orchestra at the Lyceum and Princess Theatres.
1922 He returned to the St Joseph's band for the last time.
1923 He founded and conducted the Launceston Concert Orchestra where he presented many of his compositions plus symphonic jazz. There were more charity all-Lithgow compositions concerts.
1927 at the age of 57 he retired from work and the Band due to ill health.
His marches were published throughout the world and the Americans acclaimed him as 'the Sousa of the Antipodes'. Lithgow produced approximately two hundred marches, as well as numerous pieces for band, orchestra, piano and voice. He acquired no copyrights and many of his pieces, in his immaculate notation, were lost or unpublished. Music dominated his existence, but time for composing was scarce when after a long day's work he cycled home to change for an evening performance or a musical gathering.
He died on June 12, 1929 at the age of 59 a few months short of his 60th birthday Lithgow died of a Stroke at Launceston. At his funeral massed bands played The 'Invercargill'. He is buried in Carr Villa cemetery. He was survived by his wife, son and two daughters. One of the granddaughters Pat Ward wrote a book on him. In 1953 a memorial plaque was unveiled at Paterson Street Barracks and a Band Rotunda built in City Park, Launceston. Still today in Tasmania they continue with Lithgow-only concerts. Tasmanians regard him as theirs but to Kiwis he is from Invercargill.
Lithgow wrote the 'Galvini March' in tribute to his patron B. Galvin, an Australian construction and manufacturing magnate who was a pallbearer at his funeral.
A statue was made of him in 2019 and sits in the heart of Invercargill next to the theater.
A comprehensive list of works in German language Alex F. Lithgow#Werken voor harmonieorkest of brassband [nl]