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John Behr

John Behr was born in Boston, Mass., December 22, 1855.  His was always of a musical temperament, and at an early age he manifested a devoted love for harmony.  At the age of twelve years he began seriously to study music under the direction of Henry Heindl, and progressed rapidly.  Later he studied with Bernhard Listeman.  His first professional appearance was as a member of Gillmore's Band.  When fourteen years old he took part in the great World's Peace Jubilee in Boston, and was the youngest musician by many years of thousand musicians composing the organizations appearing in the programs.

     He was a prominent figure in Boston musical circles, his membership in the Harvard Symphony Orchestra and his efforts in helping organize the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in which he also held membership, placing him in touch with those in sympathy with the plan of bettering Boston's musical standards.

     Mr. Behr came to Kansas City in 1885, and first gained local prominence by conducting the festival held in the Exposition building, in which the five hundred voices under his direction were assisted by Gilmore's Band.  He has labored consistently since living here to develop the local musical standards, and has accomplished much with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, of which he is director.  He is also director of the Willis Wood Theatre orchestra, numbered as the best of the local theater orchestras. 

     His wife was formerly Miss Ella Backus.
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