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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » W » Wallace, William Vincent



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William Vincent Wallace (3/11/1812 - 10/12/1865)

William Wallace was born in Waterford on 11 March 1812. His father, a Scottish-born regimental bandmaster, gave the young Wallace lessons on the piano and the clarinet and these which were later supplemented by violin and organ studies. By the time he reached his late teens he was already an accomplished violinist and pianist in Dublin, where he played in the orchestra at the Theatre Royal. In 1830 he secured a post as church organist in Thurles where he met and married Isabella Kelly, with whom he settled in Dublin before emigrating to Australia in late 1835. Within five years, though, he deserted his family in Sydney and is said to have complemented his earnings from music with stints at, among other things, sheep farming and whale hunting before heading further afield. There are also tales of how he narrowly escaped being eaten by cannibals, was mauled by a tiger in India and caught in an earthquake in the South Seas, all of which he may have embellished. What is not in dispute is the extent of his travels during those years, an odyssey which took him all the way from the Antipodes to South America.

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