Personalities | (Sir) William Sterndale Bennett | Late Romantic | Classical

English composer

Bennett was a leading figure of the ‘London Piano School’, a significant group of pianist-composers that included Muzio Clementi (1752–1832), Ignaz Moscheles (1794–1870) and Johann Baptist Cramer (1771–1858). A boy chorister at King’s College, Cambridge, he began studies aged 10 at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), where his teachers included Cipriani Potter. Close friends included Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann, who wrote enthusiastically about him in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (‘New Musical Journal’). Their influence can be found in his music, which includes four symphonies, an oratorio, The Woman of Samaria, cantatas and much compelling piano music, including the Maid of Orleans sonata. He founded the Bach Society (1849), conducted the Philharmonic Society (1856–66), and was Principal of the RAM (1866–75), where his students included Sullivan (1842–1900) and Parry.

Recommended Recording:
Piano Concertos, Malcolm Binns, London PO (cond) Nicholas Braithwaite (Lyrita)

Introduction | Late Romantic | Classical
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