Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Edward Elgar

Edward Elgar (Sir Edward William Elgar) was an English violinist and composer born on June 2, 1857 (Brahms was 24 years old.) During his early career, he struggled to establish himself as a composer and played in various orchestras and gave lessons in order to support himself. He began his study of the violin and piano at the age of 8 but was mostly self-taught as a composer. He learned much by arranging the music of classical composers for ensembles he played in as a young man. He did not achieve national recognition as a prominent composer until 1899, at age 42; however, by 1902, he was enjoying international fame. Today, he is remembered for his Enigma Variations (1899), violin concerto (1910), cello concerto (1919), and Pomp and Circumstance Marches. His Symphony No. 1 (1908) received over one hundred performances in its very first year, a feat probably unmatched by any other composer since then. One of his violin pupils was Marie Hall, though only for a very brief while. Elgar died in February 1934, at 76 years of age.

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