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Sir Granville Bantock

Granville Bantock was born in London in 1868 and died in that city in 1946.

Initially educated for the Indian Civil Service, his interest in music developed relatively late in his life. After five terms at the Trinity College of Music in London, he entered the Royal Academy of Music, London, in 1889. Between 1893 and 1896 he edited the new "Quarterly Musical Review"(a copy of which can be found in Birmingham Central Library) and conducted light music and musical comedies around the provinces.

In 1897 he became a musical director in New Brighton, Cheshire, and founded the New Brighton Choral Society in that town. During this period he conducted various groups and orchestras in the City of Antwerp, in Belgium. In 1898 he married Helen von Schweitzer, daughter of Herman von Schweitzer, whose lyrical poems and translations provided texts for Bantock's songs.

In September 1900, he was appointed principal of the Birmingham and Midland School of Music where he put together a complete system of musical education, became a Professor and set new syllabuses for the various courses run by the School. His reputation grew and he attracted notable people to the School for both teaching and performing - all of which helped to raise student numbers in the School which by the year 1901, totalled 1050.

Throughout his entire association with the School, he was loved by, and popular with, his students. He founded the Birmingham Competitive Festival of Music and organised the Inspection of Schools (to monitor the standard of music teaching in Birmingham schools). He wrote numerous musical works including five ballets, four operas, thirteen choral works with orchestra, works for unaccompanied and mixed chorus, incidental music to seven plays, thirty seven orchestral works, works for brass bands, violin, cello and other instruments.

In 1907 he succeeded Sir Edward Elgar in his appointment to Birmingham University as Professor of Music, where he remained until 1934. He was knighted in 1930 and in 1946 the Bantock Society was founded for the promotion of his works. Jean Sibelius, the composer, was a great friend of Bantock's throughout his life. It was said of Bantock that "he was an outstanding leader and a great man". He retired from the Birmingham School of Music in 1934, a Fellowship having been conferred on him at that time.

This additional information supplied by Jayne Coles, ABSM




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