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John Ireland
(August 23, 1879 - June 12, 1962) U.K.

John Ireland



John Ireland was born in Bowdon, near Manchester. His parents were literary people and knew many writers of the day, including Emerson. Ireland entered the newly-established Royal College of Music in London at the age of thirteen, lost both his parents shortly after, and had to make his own way as an orphaned teenager, studying piano, organ and composition.

At the age of 17 he was appointed organist at Holy Trinity, Sloane Street and moved to St Lukes Church, Chelsea in 1904. Ireland destroyed almost all of his student works and juvenilia (the beautiful Sextet for clarinet, horn and string quartet being one of the few works which he permitted to be published, and then only towards the end ofhis life) and emerged as a celebrated composer towards the end of World War I when his Second Violin Sonata brought him overnight fame.

For a short period before the Second World War, he was organist at St. Stephen's Church in St. Peter Port, Guernsey. Ireland taught composition at the Royal College and amongst his pupils were Britten, Geoffrey Bush and E J Moeran, and was organist and choirmaster at St Luke's Church in Chelsea, London. He retired to Sussex in 1953 where he died.


Photo: Jane Bown of The Observer

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