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Desire Defauw (1885 - 1960)

At the age of eight Defauw entered the Ghent Conservatory with the request that he study the violin, declaring: ‘I already know the piano.’ He duly became a student of Johan Smit and was offered a tour of the USA by an impresario when he was only fourteen, but his parents prevented this. A year later he was appointed leader of the orchestra that presented the winter concert season in Ghent, and subsequently began to tour with success as a violin soloist. In 1906 he was selected to lead the New Symphony Orchestra of London, which specialised in contemporary repertoire; and finding himself in London at the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, he established the Allied String Quartet, with Charles Woodhouse (second violin), Lionel Tertis (viola) and Emile Doehard (cello). The quartet toured throughout England, and gave the first performances of several notable works, such as the String Quartet by E.J. Moeran (1923), which was dedicated to Defauw.



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