Slatter, John

John Slatter. Bandmaster, composer, arranger, b London 21 Feb 1864, d Toronto 7 Dec 1954. After studies at the British Army Training School of Music, he became a euphonium soloist with the First Life Guards Band in London in 1882. In 1884 he joined the Victor Herbert Orchestra in New York. He played trombone and euphonium 1885-96 with leading US bands and orchestras, including the Detroit SO and the band of John Philip Sousa. In 1896 he became bandmaster of the recently formed 48th Highlanders Regimental Band in Toronto, a position he held with the rank of captain until 1944. Under his direction, the band visited world fairs in the USA, toured Canada several times, and performed for the royal visits of 1919 and 1939. During World War I Slatter supervised all army bands at Camp Borden, north of Toronto, training some 63 bands and over 1000 buglers. He also organized the Toronto cadet band, one of the first school bands in Canada. Many Canadian bandmasters and soloists came under his tutelage.

Slatter was the editor of the band-and-orchestra section of Musical Canada and contributed a series of articles on 'Phrasing and expression in music' (May, June, August 1907) as well as arrangements for brass quintet of such favourites as 'The Blue Bells of Scotland.' From 1931 to 1933 he was the first president of the CBA, the founding of which he had advocated since 1918, and he did much to give leadership to the Canadian band movement. He compiled and arranged several band collections, including Regimental Marches of Famous Scottish Regiments (Canadian American Music 1901), National Airs and Regimental Marches including 'O Canada' and 'The Maple Leaf For Ever' (R.S. Williams 1911), Canadian Patriotic Band Book (R.S. Williams ca 1919), and three sets of Scottish bagpipe books for band. Slatter also compiled The New Excel Edition for Piston Trumpet Band (Whaley Royce 1951) and arranged a Scottish medley for band, The Bonnie Brier Bush (Waterloo). Several of his marches and arrangements for band are published by Waterloo. His recordings on Edison cylinders, as conductor of the 48th Highlanders Band and also as conductor of the Starr-Gennett Military Band, are listed in Roll Back the Years. He was made a MBE (Member, Order of the British Empire).

Slatter's brother Henry Arthur (clarinetist, bandmaster, b London 1866, d ?) was a member of the Band of the Grenadier Guards 1884-1905 and moved to Vancouver in 1911, where he directed the band of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders 1911-14 and 1919-25. Another brother, Albert, was bandmaster of the 7th London Fusiliers.