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Ralph Vaughan Williams

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Ralph Vaughan Williams, OM (1872–1958) was an influential English composer.

Vaughan Williams was born on 12th October 1872 in Down Ampney, a village in the Cotswolds. After attending Charterhouse School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he became a student at the Royal College of Music; he later studied with Max Bruch in Berlin and Maurice Ravel in Paris.

He served as a lieutenant in World War I, having volunteered for the Field Ambulance Service; the appalling carnage affected him deeply, as did the deaths of close friends such as George Butterworth.

He wrote nine symphonies between 1910 and 1958, as well as numerous other works including chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also one of the first serious collectors of English folk music and served as president of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS). The Society’s Vaughan Williams Memorial Library is named for him.

Vaughan Williams died on 26th August 1958, and his ashes are interred in Westminster Abbey.

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