Music: Hill's Melody Boys

One hundred years ago this week, a Connecticut Yankee named Ureli Corelli Hill* launched the Philharmonic Society of New York. Impresario Hill, who looked something like a burlesque Irishman, could not find a second trumpet player. But with a dauntless lack of finesse the Philharmonic gave its first program in the gaslit Apollo Rooms on Lower Broadway: Beethoven's Fifth (V for Victory) Symphony, Weber's Oberon Overture and a Gargantuan assortment of operatic arias sung by a lady named Madame Otto. To finance his first season, Ureli Corelli Hill persuaded each man in the orchestra to chip in $25. Profits, at the...

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