Olmstead [Olmsted], Timothy
- Richard Crawford
- , revised by David W. Music
(b Hartford, CT, Nov 12, 1759; d Phoenix, Oswego Co., NY, Aug 15, 1848). American composer, tune book compiler, singing master and fifer. During the Revolutionary War he served as a fifer (1775–6) and played in a regimental band (1777–80). After the war he apparently settled in Connecticut and worked as a singing master. He served in the War of 1812, and in his later years lived in Whitestown, New York.
Olmstead compiled The Musical Olio (Northampton, MA, 1805, 2/1811), which was devoted mostly to European pieces and favoured the Methodist style, but also contained 25 of his own compositions. Drawing on his experience as a bandsman he also compiled Martial Music (Albany, NY, 1807), a collection of instrumental marches and dances, including nearly a dozen of his own. Olmstead’s range as a musician was unusual for Americans of his generation. As a psalmodist, he composed in both the indigenous New England idiom and a more Europeanized style, and he also wrote with some skill for instruments....