Thursday, March 31, 2011


Edward William Elgar was born in the English town of Broadheath, near Worcester on June 2, 1857. He was musically educated by his father, an organist at St. George's Roman Catholic Church in Worcester. Part of his early education included helping his father at the organ, and participating in rehearsals of the Worcester Glee Club. In 1879, he went to London, where he received a few violin lessons from Adolf Pollitzer. He also took up employment at the Worcester County Lunatic Asylum as bandmaster. He was appointed conductor of the Worcester Amateur Instrumental Society in 1882. He left that job in 1885 to take over from his father as organist at St. George's. He married the daughter of Sir Henry Roberts in 1889, then moved first to London, then to Malvern, which became his home for 13 years. In 1904, he moved to Hereford, then London, until his wife died in 1920, at which point he returned to Worcester. Elgar died in 1934. Although Elgar's academic musical training was far from formal, he managed to establish himself as a major composer of the early Twentieth Century. His musical technique was remarkable. His pieces were most often written in traditional Romantic style, tempered by strong formal elements. Elgar was honored on many occasions by various awards. In 1904, he was knighted. Honorary degress in Mus.Doc were given to him by Aberdeen and Cambridge Universities in 1906, and Oxford University in 1905. Leeds gave him a LL.D in 1904. While in the United States in 1905, Elgar was awarded a D.Mus. from Yale University. The University of Western Pennsylvania (Univ. of Pittsburgh) followed suit, granting the same degree to Elgar in 1907. In 1911, he received the Order of Merit, was appointed as the Master of the King's Musick in 1924, was made K.C.V.O. in 1928, and a baronet in 1931.

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