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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » K » Ketelbey, Albert William



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Albert William Ketelbey (8/09/1875 - 11/26/1959)

Contrary to claims that the name Ketelbey was a pseudonym, the British composer was indeed born Albert William Ketelbey (without the accent) on 9 August 1875 at 41 Alma Street, Aston Manor, Birmingham, son of George, an engraver, and Sarah, whose maiden name was by coincidence also Aston.

Piano lessons must have started at an early age, as the eleven-year-old Ketelbey performed a Piano Sonata of his own composition at the Worcester Town Hall, to an audience that included Edward Elgar. On his own admission, he was a reluctant pianist, but was inspired to composition by a passion for the daughter of the organist of the church choir in which he sang.

Such was his talent, that by the age of thirteen he won a scholarship to Trinity College of Music in London, an institution with which he was associated for many years, first as a pupil, later as an examiner. Although trying his hand at other instruments, including organ, flute, oboe, clarinet and cello, his first instrument remained the piano, with composition taking an ever-increasing role.

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