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Henri Berger Biography
Henri Berger (1844-1929), composer and royal bandmaster of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1872 to his death. Berger was born in Prussia and became a member of Germany's imperial army band. He worked under the composer and royal bandmaster of Germany, Johann Strauss, Jr. Originally, the Kaiser of Germany loaned Berger to King David Kalakaua to conduct the king's band. In 1877, Kalakaua appointed Berger to full leadership of the Royal Hawaiian Band. In 1879, he became a naturalized citizen of Hawaii.

Berger befriended the future Queen Lili'uokalani, a composer in her own right. Berger arranged the songs she wrote, performed by the band. From 1893 to 1903, the Prussian bandmaster worked with the Kamehameha Schools to develop its music program. He also built what is today the Honolulu Symphony.

Later in his tenure as royal bandmaster, Berger took it upon himself to record traditional Hawaiian hymns, chants and other Hawaiian music in print to ensure their survival, a task never done before. Berger at the same time composed the classics: "The Hula March", "Hilo March", "Kohala March" and "Sweet Lei Lehua." His arrangement of Hawaii Ponoi, composed by Kalakaua became the national anthem. Today, the song serves as the state anthem.

Berger's legacy continues today, celebrated worldwide especially in Hawaii and Germany, as the father of the Royal Hawaiian Band. It is the oldest municipal band of the United States of America.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Henri Berger.