Wilhelm Zehle

Wilhelm Zehle was born in 1876 and lived until 1956. Born in what was known as Prussia he began music studies in Magdeburgin in 1895 at age nineteen. He eventually joined the Royal German Mobile 2nd Sea battalion at Wilhelmhaven as a military bandsman. He was a very talented cornet and trumpet player and soon became the band soloist. 

In 1900 his battalion was ordered to China to help quell the boxer rebellion and was part of the joint invasion forces from Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. Shortly before sailing, the band leader became ill and Zehle was appointed in his place. Following his service in China he began writing the suite "Sounds of Peking": which was later published. 

On his return to Germany he resumed his role as solo trumpet player. He left military service in 1903 taking the position of Administrator at the Civil Port Authority in Wilhelmshaven. He won the prestigious march composition contest sponsored by Hawkes and Son with the march Viscount Nelson in 1900, Army and Marine in 1901,Wellington (although he may not have named it thus) in 1906 and Trafalgar in 1908.He had a great influence on future composers with the strong melodic and harmonic structure of his marches. He was an enormous talent and his marches are still performed around the world. Many of his marches are still being recorded by major bands world wide, and the Wellington march is considered his best.