Roland Forrest Seitz was born in 1867 in Pennsylvania to William and Magdalena Zeigler Seitz. His paternal grandparents had come to America from Germany just over 100 years earlier. Roland was the youngest of eight children. His father died when Roland was only three, and as a youth, Roland began working as an apprentice printer to help the family out, although he was always interested in music. A cousin had bought Roland a flute and he joined a family band of oddly mixed instruments including his flute, an organ, a trombone and some violins. A little later, Roland had learned to play the cornet and euphonium and played both in a group known as the Glen Rock Band.
At the age of twenty-seven, Roland entered Dana’s Musical Institution in Warren, Ohio, graduating in 1898, after which he returned to Glen Rock, Pennsylvania. He rejoined the Glen Rock Band, eventually becoming its conductor. Seitz helped develop the band into a well known performing organization while he also founded his own music publishing company.
As the caption in the above newspaper clipping states, the Glen Rock Band happened to be seated at the Pan-American Exposition held at Buffalo, New York on September 5, 1901 at the moment when President William McKinley was shot. The President suffered from the wound for a short time. After a brief rally, the President succumbed to complications from the gunshot wound about ten days later.
His publishing company printed and marketed works by other well known period composers as well as his own works. At least one account has Seitz publishing a composition by composer/conductor Karl L. King when King was still a teenager. Seitz died on December 29, 1946 in Union County, New Jersey and he was buried at Chestnut Hill Cemetery in his home town of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania.
Seitz is known to have composed over four dozen marches during his long career in music. One of his best known works, March Grandioso, or simply Grandioso, was composed in 1901. The march is based on a theme from Franz Lizst’s Hungarian Rhapsody #14 in F Minor. The now familiar march theme appears in the Lizst work in the allegro eroico, early in the piano score.
Seitz – March Grandioso performed by the United States Navy Band (Youtube)
Franz Lizst – Hungarian Rhapsody #14 in F Minor performed by György Cziffra (Youtube)