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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » D » Dyson, George

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George Dyson (5/28/1883 - 9/28/1964)

George Dyson was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, the son of a blacksmith. Although from a working-class background in the industrial north, he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists at the age of sixteen. Winning an open scholarship to London’s Royal College of Music in 1900 he went on to be the voice of public school music and, in 1937, Director of the Royal College of Music, the first alumnus of the College to do so, a fact of which he was inordinately proud. At the College Dyson was a pupil of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, then at the height of his influence as a composition teacher. In 1904 Dyson won the Mendelssohn Scholarship, and went to Italy, later journeying on to Vienna and Berlin, where he met many of the leading musicians of the day. In London Nikisch conducted his early tone-poem Siena, later withdrawn.

On Dyson’s return to England, Sir Hubert Parry recommended him as Director of Music at the Royal Naval College, Osborne. Dyson soon moved to Marlborough College, but on the outbreak of war in 1914 he enlisted. During the war he became celebrated for his training pamphlet on grenade warfare, which he produced as brigade grenadier officer of the 99th Infantry Brigade, and which was widely disseminated. Dyson saw action in the trenches and in due course was invalided out. In his diary Parry writes in shocked terms when he saw Dyson back in College, a shadow of his former self.


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