Peter Wilhousky

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Peter J. Wilhousky
Born13 July 1902
Died4 January 1978(1978-01-04) (aged 75)
CitizenshipUnited States
Occupation(s)Director of music in New York City schools and conductor of the New York All-City High School Chorus
Known forEnglish language setting of "Carol of the Bells"; arrangement of "Battle Hymn of the Republic"

Peter J. Wilhousky (Ukrainian: Пітер (Петро) Вільговський; 13 July 1902 – 4 January 1978) was an American composer, music educator, and choral conductor of Rusyn descent. During his childhood he was part of New York's Russian Cathedral Boys Choir and gave a performance at the White House to President Woodrow Wilson.[1] He was featured on several broadcasts of classical music with Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, including the historic 1947 broadcast of Verdi's opera Otello.

In 1936, Wilhousky wrote a popular English version of the Ukrainian song "Shchedryk" by Mykola Leontovych and called it "Carol of the Bells". Wilhousky's 1944 choral arrangement of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959 with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Grammy-winning performance, and has become "arguably the most well-known choral arrangement of a hymn or anthem in the United States."[2][3][4]

Former students[edit]

As a choral director in New York City, he influenced the future careers of musician Julius La Rosa and scientist Stephen Jay Gould.[5]


  1. ^ Spurr, Sean (26 July 2011). "Carol of the Bells". Christmas Carols. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. 26 October 1959. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  3. ^ Lloyd, R. Scott (11 March 2006). "Choral directors are feted by choir: Association members join in singing choir's signature tune". Deseret News. Retrieved 2 December 2022.
  4. ^ Battle Hymn of the Republic. The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. Retrieved 2 December 2022 – via YouTube (official channel).
  5. ^ Gould, Stephen Jay (6 November 1988). "Strike Up the Choir!". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 December 2022.

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