Hans Gál was born in what is now Vienna. He received his doctoral degree in music and was a lecturer in Music Theory at the University of Vienna from 1918 to 1929. He served as the Director of the School of Music in Mainz and conducted concerts in Vienna until he fled the Nazis in 1938. He eventually settled in Edinburgh, where he became a well-known and respected figure in the city’s musical life as composer, performer, scholar and teacher. He was also involved in establishing the Edinburgh International Festival and received numerous honors for his service to music. Gál wrote operas, symphonies, chamber works, and some choral music; he edited the complete works of Johannes Brahms. His works were regularly performed in Britain, Europe and the US during his lifetime.
The Promenadenmusik was composed as a competition piece sponsored by the "Donaueschingen Musiktage", a Bavarian music festival. Several prominent composers entered this competition, including Paul Hindemith, Ernst Krenek, Ernst Pepping, and Ernst Toch. The announcement was as follows:
Like last year (madrigals), the music committee set a new task for the 1926 performances: to write "Gebrauchsmusik" of an entertaining character for wind orchestra (military setting). The artistic potential of this setting - which has hardly been exploited up till now - should be shown, as well as raising light music to a higher level and forging links with 'the people'. ["Gebrauchsmusik" is translated as music for special occasions.]--James Huff 17:51, March 27, 2007 (EDT) (from the program notes of The Claremont Winds, submitted with permission)