Osiier, Julius (November 10, 1865-July 13, 1939)
- Existence: November 10, 1865 - July 13, 1939
Julius Osiier was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 10, 1865. He studied music from a young age, learning from the likes of G.A. Lembcke (Royal Chamber Musician of the Danish Court), N.W. Gade (Composer, Director of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Denmark), Johan Svendsen, and the great Edvard Grieg. After his brother Sully reported to him that he was finding success in Kansas City as a musician, Osiier moved there in 1906. Even though he did not speak English, he began teaching piano lessons.
Working in Kansas City as a composer and conductor, he conducted orchestras at the Willis Wood and Schubert Theatres, and bands at Electric Park. He was perhaps best known for originating the “Pop” Concerts in Kansas City. The Journal-Post wrote:
“Julius Osiier…is a pioneer in Kansas City’s musical development. …Mr. Osiier originated the popular symphony concerts, which he conducted in Convention Hall. Besides his conducting, Mr. Osiier has done a great deal of composing. One of his works, ‘Fackeltanz’, was written in Denmark, the land of his birth, and dedicated to King Frederick VIII and Queen Louise, at whose silver wedding anniversary it was played.”
Osiier’s greatest compositional success was perhaps his Opera, The Bride of Bagdad, with a libretto by Dr. Andreas Bard, a pastor at the local St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. The work received its premiere on February 2, 1932, at Ararat Temple in Kansas City to much acclaim. In 1938, Osiier received the David Bispham Award from the American Opera Society of Chicago, in recognition of The Bride of Bagdad.
Having been an important figure in Kansas City’s music scene since his arrival from Denmark, Osiier died on July 13, 1939.
Sources: Obituary, Kansas City Times, July 14, 1939 [Box 1, Folder 3]. Flyer and Ticket Order Form for The Bride of Bagdad [Box 1, Folder 6].