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In 1882, with his siblings, Telgmann formed the Telgmann Concert Party, a touring ensemble. He founded, in 1892, the Kingston Conservatory of Music and School of Elocution of which he was principal for over 25 years. He led the school's student orchestra. In 1914, he founded the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, which he conducted until his retirement in 1936.
Telgmann composed three operettas, The Miller and the Maid, King of Siam and Leo, the Royal Cadet. The latter achieved over 1,700 performances between its premiere in 1889 and 1925 and has recently been revived in a revised version. Other compositions included marches such as "Boo Hoo's Queen's Dominion Victory March" (1922) and "The Mascot: Boo Hoo's March to Queen's Rugby Team". He composed songs such as "The Nutcracker Mazurka", "Mr. Craig", "The Laird of Glenburne", and "Scotch Country Dance".
Telgmann married Alida Jackson. Their daughter Mignon Telgmann (born 1898) was a violin teacher.
Telgmann died in Toronto in 1946 at the age of approximately 91. A music bursary established by his family in his memory and that of his daughter Mignon (born 1898) was subsequently established at Queen's University.
Mascot music for Boo Hoo the Bear, "Boo Hoo's Queen's Dominion Victory March" (1922) and "The Mascot: Boo Hoo's March to Queen's Rugby Team"