Howard Rutledge Thatcher (1878-1973) was a composer, organist, pianist, and professor at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. A Baltimore native, Thatcher attended Peabody in 1895 on a violin scholarship. There he studied violin, organ, harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, and composition. Thatcher earned a certificate in harmony and a diploma in composition.
He then began his career teaching advanced harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, and composition at Peabody, continuing as a member of the faculty for over 40 years. He also taught at Hood College, the Tome Institute, and the Maryland College for Women in Lutherville. Thatcher was also an organist of First Church of Christ Scientist and an organist and choir director of Eutaw Place Synagogue. He was also the organist and choir master at Temple Oheb Shalom for 55 years.
As a composer, Thatcher wrote several works for large ensembles, such as his Concert Overture, Legend for Orchestra, Symphonic Fantasy, and Violin Concerto. He wrote various chamber music compositions and numerous smaller pieces, including a Prelude and Fugue for organ, various anthems, songs, compositions for violin and for piano, and original services for synagogue. In addition, Thatcher served as a guest conductor for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and authored many reminiscences, book reviews, and articles on music. He was an honorary member of the Baltimore Music Club and received an honorary degree from the Peabody Institute in 1972.