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Hamilton Harty (12/04/1879 - 2/19/1941)

The composer, conductor, pianist and organist Hamilton Harty was born in Hillsborough, Co. Down, on 4th December 1879. His first teacher was his father, and he studied the viola, the piano and the rudiments of counterpoint. By the age of twelve he was already organist at Magheragall Church, Co. Antrim, and in November 1895 was offered a new post at St Barnabas' Church, Belfast. He was later to take up a position at Christ Church in Bray, Co. Wicklow, just a few miles south of Dublin, and it was while he was based there that he received much help and encouragement from the Italian composer Michele Esposito, then Professor of Piano at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. In 1901 Harty resigned as organist at Bray in order to take up a post at All Saints Church in Norfolk Square, London, although this was to last only a week after he fell out with the vicar. He was soon to make his mark on the London music scene, however, not only as a composer but also as an accompanist of exceptional brilliance. Conducting gradually began to take up more of his time after no less a person than Hans Richter asked him to conduct one of his own compositions, With the Wild Geese, with the London Symphony Orchestra in March 1911. Following this he was engaged for the entire 1912-13 season of London Symphony Orchestra concerts at the Queen's Hall.



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