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British composer, Granville Bantock, was born in London in 1868 and studied at Trinity College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London. He was active as a conductor, arranging performances of his own and his colleague’s works. In fact he was unusually generous in this respect taking the opportunity to perform his peer’s works as often as possible. He championed Sibelius, being responsible for introducing him to the British public, and the two composers became firm friends, Sibelius dedicating his Third Symphony to Bantock. As one of the group of English composers active in the first half of the 20th century, he continued to compose within the boundaries of traditional harmony. Strongly influenced by Wagner and Richard Strauss, most of his orchestral works are programme music with Oriental and Celtic themes. Among his principal works are ‘Omar Khayyam’ for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, ‘Atalanta in Calydon and ‘Vanity of Vanities’ for unaccompanied voices, the ‘Hebridean Symphony’ and tone poems ‘Fifne at the Fair and ‘Dante and Beatrice’. Bantock succeeded Sir Edward Elgar as Professor of Music at the University of Birmignham and was influential in the founding of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra who performed his overture ‘Saul’ in their first concert. He was knighted in 1930.
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