Duss, John S.
- Richard D. Wetzel
(b Zoar, OH, Feb 22, 1860; d Economy, PA, 1951). American cornetist, bandmaster, and composer. He studied the cornet and other band instruments under Jacob Rohr (1827–1906), a Pittsburgh bandmaster, but was largely self-taught. He was engaged as a schoolteacher by George Rapp’s Harmony Society in 1888, and elected a senior trustee in 1892. This position gave him control of the Harmonists’ wealth, which he used to organize bands and to pursue a career as a bandmaster. In 1902 he conducted band concerts at the Metropolitan Opera and at the St. Nicholas Rink on Columbus Avenue and 66th Street, New York. The following year, after a tour of 30 North American cities, he engaged the Metropolitan orchestra and the singers Lillian Nordica and Edouard de Reszke to give concerts at Madison Square Garden, which, at a cost of more than $100,000, he transformed into a reproduction of the city of Venice. In spite of unfavorable reviews, Duss returned to New York for the summer season in ...