Robert Sauer was born on October 3, 1873, in Romneneau, Saxony, Germany, the son of Friedrich Wilhelm and Charlotte Andrews Sauer.
Sauer graduated from the Radeberg Music School in Germany in 1893, after four years of study, and continued his musical studies at Tresten Music School. He traveled extensively in Germany, Holland, England, and later in the United States.
He studied under some of the outstanding German music masters, including Professor Kretshmer, noted composer of operas, and he played with several of the best bands and orchestras in Germany.
Career and Service at BYU
In 1899, while living in Germany, Sauer became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Following two years as a private music teacher in Germany, he came to the United States, joining his friend Albert Miller in Provo, Utah. Upon Miller’s death in 1906, Sauer was appointed as the leader of Brigham Young University's Band.
In the years which followed, he became one of the foremost band directors in the area, and was noted as a capable national band adjudicator. He gave professional service to Provo, both as an instructor of individuals and as a teacher and leader of ensemble groups. He was named Assistant Professor of music at BYU in 1920, advancing to Associate Professor in 1924 and full Professor in 1938. He was awarded the title professor emeritus in 1943.
In addition to teaching, Sauer was also a composer. His best-known piece was titled, Springtime in the Rockies.
Family and Personal Life
On October 27, 1896, he married Augusta Trabert in Erfurt, Germany. They had a son and four daughters: Paul, Annie, Gertrude, Elsie, and Mable.
Throughout his life Sauer was active in the Church and contributed freely of his musical abilities. He also took an active part in community affairs and was a member of the Provo Chamber of Commerce.
He died on January 5, 1944.
His memory is perpetuated in the room which bears his name – the Robert Sauer Band Room, located in E-251 of the Harris Fine Arts Center.
- Special Program for Naming of Areas: Franklin S. Harris Fine Arts Center. Tuesday, November 23, 1965 at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.
- T. Earl Pardoe, The Sons of Brigham. 1969. BYU Alumni Association, Provo, Utah, 84602.