The exceptional French-born American composer, arranger, conductor, and clarinettist, Lucien Cailliet (sometimes misspelled: Lucien Caillet), and studied at several French music conservatories before graduating from the Dijon Conservatory. He then studied with at the National Conservatory in Paris, graduating in 1913 with first prize on clarinet. He also studied composition privately with Paul Fauchet, Georges Caussades, Fugue with Andre Gedalge and orchestration and band arranging with Gabriel Pares who was then conductor of the Garde Republicaine Band.
Lucien Cailliet gained experience as an instrumentalist and bandmaster in the French Army, and, in 1915, he toured the USA with the French Army Band. In 1915 (according to Baker's) or 1918 (according to Wikipedia & IMDB) he emigrated top the USA and in 1923, at age thirty-two, became a naturalised American citizen. In 1919 he joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as a clarinettist, bass clarinettist and saxophonist, and also was active with it as an arranger (several of his arrangements appear under Leopold Stokowski's cognomen, with the approval of Cailliet). In 1933, he performed Reynaldo Hahn's Sarabande et Theme on bass clarinet with Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1935 (IMDB) or 1937 (MichlinMusic) he became Officier d'Academie, in France. He continued to play with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy until 1937, while attending graduate school at the Philadelphia Musical Academy, receiving his Doctor of Music Degree in 1937. He also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. During this time, he founded the Cherry Hill Wind Symphony, which would later become the Wind Symphony of Southern New Jersey.
After receiving his doctorate, Lucien Cailliet move to California, where from 1938 to 1945 he taught orchestration, counterpoint and conducting at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He was also conductor of the Symphony Orchestra and Bands at the University. After teaching there for seven years, he decided to devote his time to guest conducting and composing film scores.
Lucien Cailliet conducted the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo Orchestra, which functions involved guest-conducting the major symphony orchestras of Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra , New Orleans, Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, etc. He was twice commissioned to compose and conduct the Finale number of the Tri-State Festival at Enid, Oklahoma. He has been a frequent conductor of many State Bands Festivals and Orchestras. He was a member of the Screen Composers Association, the Composers and Lyricists Guild of America, the American Bandmasters Association and of PHI KAPPA PHI.
Lucien Cailliet served as Associate Conductor of The Allentown Band (Pennsylvania) from 1934 until 1969. During that period he conducted many of his arrangements on Allentown Band Concerts. In 1938 he dedicated his Variations on the Theme "Pop! Goes the Weasel" to The Allentown Band, an arrangement that continues to be a favourite or both bands and orchestras to this day.
In the 1950's Lucien Cailliet lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he served from 1957 to 1976 as Musical Director and Director of Music Publications of the musical instrument producer G. Leblanc Corporation, and Conductor of the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra through 1960. Cailliet was a personal friend and at one time a neighbour in Beverly Hills, California of José Iturbi, who appeared with Cailliet in symphony concerts.
Lucien Cailliet wrote over 200 compositions for band, orchestra and chorus, published by many leading publishers of this country, and has been a member of ASCAP since 1946. He prepared a new orchestration of Mussorgsky's piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition (1937); among his original works were Memories of Stephen Foster for orchestra (1945), Variations on "Pop Goes the Weasel" for orchestra (1938), band music, and clarinet pieces.
Lucien Cailliet is well known among wind musicians for his faithful arrangements of orchestral music for wind ensemble. In particular, his arrangements of Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral (from Wagner's opera Lohengrin) and Finlandia (a symphonic poem by Jean Sibelius) have become staples of the wind ensemble repertory.
Lucien Cailliet also enjoyed a prolific career creating music for films. Between 1938 and 1965 he contributed to over 60 Hollywood films (principally of Paramount) as either composer (some 25 film scores to his credit) or arranger (some uncredited). Some of them he also conducted. Among the best known of these films are She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Ten Commandments (for which Elmer Bernstein wrote the score), and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.