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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » E » Ellis, Vivian

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Vivian Ellis (10/29/1904 - 6/19/1996)

ivian Ellis is one of Britain’s great song-writers. With such a melodic gift backed by all the right attributes—harmonic resource, sense of design, ability to set a scene, and impeccable workmanship—it was natural that his output has also included a number of light orchestral compositions.

Vivian Ellis was born in Hampstead, London, into a musical family. His grandmother was a pianist and composer, writing, amongst other things, a comic opera, and his mother was a fine violinist. He studied composition and piano at the Royal Academy of Music, the latter under Myra Hess. Recognising that his talents lay in ‘light’ rather than symphonic fields his first employment was as a reader and demonstrator for the London publisher Francis, Day and Hunter. That meant on the one hand assessing songs and piano pieces submitted for publication—up to two hundred a week—and then being available in the shop to demonstrate on the piano the current publications being promoted for sale, including those from across the Atlantic by Irving Berlin and others. That experience Ellis freely acknowledges to be the most crucial part of his training as a composer.




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