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Born in Cheshire in 1879, English composer Cyril Scott studied in Frankfurt with Iwan Knorr where his fellow composition students included Percy Grainger, Norman O’Neill, Roger Quilter and Balfour Gardiner, later becoming known as the ‘Frankfurt Group’. He returned to Liverpool in 1898.
Scott was a prolific composer, writing over four hundred works including four symphonies, three operas and concerti for piano, violin, cello, oboe and harpsichord. He became a pioneer of British piano music producing more piano works than any other British composer at the time and his music was admired by composers as diverse as Debussy, Strauss, Stravinsky and Percy Grainger, a lifelong friend.
Scott’s ‘Heroic Suite’ was performed in the UK by Stanislav Richter and his Symphony No 1 received its premiere in Darmstadt, Germany. His Symphony No 2 was conducted by Sir Henry Wood at the BBC Proms in 1903 and the Piano Concerto was performed by Sir Thomas Beecham at the British Music Festival in 1915. Many of his large scale works were performed at UK festivals including Norwich and Leeds.
Scott’s music was also frequently performed abroad between the First and Second World Wars and his one-act opera ‘The Alchemist’ was performed in Essen, Germany in 1925. Unfortunately, by the start of the Second World War, Scott’s popularity had declined although he was still in demand as an interpreter of his own music. There were fewer performances and recordings although he continued to write prolifically until his death in 1970. Scott’s lifetime achievements were endorsed by the International Academy (MusD, FIA 1956), the American Conservatory, Chicago (DMus 1959) and the Royal Academy of Music, London (1969).
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