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Alfred Hollins

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Alfred Hollins

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Alfred Hollins (Born in Hull, Yorkshire September 11 1865, died May 17 in Edinburgh 1942) was a respected English organist, composer and teacher who was a famous recitalist in Scotland.

Hollins was blind from birth. His mother died while he was very young, and very little is known about his father. After his mother’s death Hollins was sent to live with his “Aunt Mary”, who gave him his first piano lesson. It is rumoured that Hollins had perfect pitch and upon hearing any two notes on the piano could name them.

In 1878 Hollins enrolled at the Royal Normal College for the Blind at Upper Norwood. He impressed the Principal of his potential as a musician such that he was given the opportunity to study with Fritz Hartvigson on the piano and Dr E.J. Hopkins on the organ. Hollins then presented several successful concerts including one at the Crystal Palace where he performed the solo part of the Emperor Concerto and a concert at Windsor in the presence of Queen Victoria.

The opportunity arose for Hollins to study in Berlin under Hans von Bülow. While in Germany Hollins gave a series of concerts - at one time playing three concerti in the one evening - The Liszt Eb, the Schumann A minor and the ‘Emperor’. He played before the royal families of Germany and the Low Countries.

In 1884 Hollins was given his first professional appointment as an organist, at St John’s, Redhill. In 1885 Hollins appeared at the Music and Inventions Exhibition in 1885 – this time playing the concert organ. Shortly afterwards another period of study presented itself at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt.

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