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Thomas Dunhill

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Thomas Frederick Dunhill (b. Hampstead, London 1 February 1877; d. Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire March 13th 1946) was an English composer and writer on musical subjects. He is best-known for his song-cycle The Wind among the Reeds.

Thomas Dunhill attended the Royal College of Music, London, in 1893 and studied pianoforte under Franklin Taylor and composition under Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. He won an open scholarship for composition in 1897. He became a music-master at Eton College for several years, before becoming a professor at the Royal College of Music in 1905.

From 1907 to 1919 he gave concerts of chamber-music in London, the Thomas Dunhill Concerts, at which important chamber music by English composers was performed. He himself wrote chamber music and also songs and song-cycles. His song-cycle The wind among the reeds, for tenor voice and orchestra, was first performed by Gervase Elwes with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Queen’s Hall in 1912. His setting of W.B. Yeats’s ‘The Cloths of Heaven’ is deservedly famous. Elwes (with Frederick B. Kiddle) recorded his song ‘A Sea Dirge’, a setting of Shakespeare’s lyric Full fathom five.

In July 1918 Dunhill chaired the meeting of Directors on the Royal Philharmonic Society which set out to reclaim democratic control of the Society’s affairs when, during the Great War, they had largely fallen under the single, if highly benevolent, control of Thomas Beecham and his secretary Donald Baylis.

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