Glover, John William (1815–99), conductor, organist, composer, and educator, was born 19 June 1815 in Dublin. He was the last of the circle of Irish musicians that included his friends Michael Balfe (qv), W. Vincent Wallace (qv), and Richard Levey (1811–99).
Glover appears to have had an early introduction to the operatic world, playing violin at the Theatre Royal, Dublin, from 1830. From Levey it may be inferred that he became a permanent member of the theatre band in 1843. In 1848 he secured two significant positions: one as organist of St Mary's pro-cathedral, the other with the national education board, with responsibility for music at the Marlborough Street model schools. Now styling himself ‘Professor’, he launched a ‘New School of Music’ at 7 North Cumberland Street in 1849, and was by 1853 propagating his personal piano method at the Royal Irish Institute.
Glover brought out a new edition of Thomas Moore's (qv) Irish melodies in 1859, and a compilation of school songs in 1867. He also provided the harmonies for the extensive collection of Ancient Irish music published in 1873 by P. W. Joyce (qv).
In 1851 the increasing fashion for massed chorus singing prompted Glover to found, with Patrick Keenan (qv), the Royal Choral Institute. He conducted the Irish premieres of Mozart's Requiem and Schumann's Paradise and the peri (a setting of verses from Thomas Moore's ‘Lalla rookh’). His own cantata St Patrick at Tara, with words from Ossian, Thomas Moore, and James Clarence Mangan (qv), was performed at the O'Connell centenary of 1875. Other cantatas by him include Erin's matin song and One hundred years ago, the latter marking the Moore centenary of 1879.
For the pro-cathedral, Glover composed masses and other liturgical music as substitutes for settings by Haydn and Mozart which the clergy of the time considered to be too long. He is said to have written two Italian operas to libretti by Metastasio, although Levey lists neither of them as having been performed in Dublin up to 1878. From his published compositions, it is apparent that Glover had little formal training in composition: his only English opera, ‘The deserted village’, with a libretto after Oliver Goldsmith (qv) by the pseudonymous Edmund O'Rourke (qv), produced in London in 1880, is a rather makeshift essay in the style of Balfe and Wallace.
Glover died 18 December 1899 in Dublin. His two daughters (both harpists, for whom he had composed solo pieces) and three sons were all active musicians, and his grandson Jimmy Glover became conductor at the Drury Lane Theatre, London.