Thomas F. Dunhill

Thomas F. Dunhill
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Short Name: Thomas F. Dunhill
Full Name: Dunhill, Thomas F. (Thomas Frederick) 1877-1946
Birth Year: 1877
Death Year: 1946

Born: February 1, 1877, Hamp­stead, Lon­don, Eng­land.
Died: March 13, 1946, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, Eng­land.
Buried: Appleby, Lincolnshire, England.

Dunhill was a gif­ted pi­a­no stu­dent, and a child­hood en­thu­si­ast for the light op­er­as of Gil­bert & Sull­i­van, whose work he em­u­lat­ed by com­pos­ing a number of small op­er­et­tas in his teens. In 1893, he en­rolled at the Roy­al Col­lege of Mu­sic, London, stu­dy­ing pi­a­no­for­te un­der Frank­lin Tay­lor and com­po­si­tion un­der Charles Stan­ford. His con­tem­po­rar­ies in­clud­ed Ralph Vaugh­an Will­iams, Gus­tav Holst, and John Irel­and, who re­mained a life­long friend. He won an open schol­ar­ship for com­po­si­tion in 1897.

Dunhill was a mu­sic-mas­ter at Eton Col­lege for sev­er­al years be­fore be­com­ing a pro­fess­or at the Roy­al Col­lege of Mu­sic in 1905. From 1907-19 he gave con­certs of cham­ber mu­sic in Lon­don. 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 Will­iam But­ler Yeats’ "The Cloths of Heaven" is well known. 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 of the Roy­al Phil­har­mon­ic So­ci­e­ty which set out to re­claim dem­o­cra­tic con­trol of the So­ci­e­ty’s af­fairs when, dur­ing World War I, they had large­ly fall­en un­der the sin­gle, if high­ly be­nev­o­lent, con­trol of Thom­as Beech­am and his sec­re­ta­ry Don­ald Bay­lis.

Dunhill gave a con­cert of mu­sic by Bri­tish com­pos­ers in Bel­grade in 1922, which in­clud­ed his own Sym­pho­ny in A min­or com­posed dur­ing the war, and in 1924 con­trib­ut­ed Ser­bi­an ar­ti­cles to the Dent Musical Dictionary/.

After the war, Dun­hill’s work shift­ed from or­ches­tral and cham­ber mu­sic to­ward light op­era and other genres. In 1931, his light op­era Tan­ti­vy Tow­ers was a con­sid­er­a­ble suc­cess in London, and a suite of ball­et mov­ements, Gal­li­mauf­ry, was per­formed in Ham­burg in 1937.

Dur­ing the 1920s and 1930s, he wrote ve­ry ma­ny small piec­es for pi­a­no, for mu­si­cians to play at home, ma­ny of which were pub­lished. Some of his el­e­men­ta­ry piec­es are still used by the As­so­ci­at­ed Board (ABRSM) for ex­am­in­a­tions. Dunhill had from 1906 been a sen­ior ex­am­in­er for the ABRSM, tak­ing him over­seas on sev­er­al oc­ca­sions.

Dunhill led a bu­sy life as an ad­min­is­tra­tor, in ad­di­tion to his work as a com­pos­er, teach­er and ex­am­in­er. He adjud­i­cat­ed at sev­er­al re­gion­al mu­sic fes­tiv­als, lec­tured and oc­ca­sion­al­ly broad­cast on the BBC. In the ear­ly 1940s he com­posed a num­ber of suites for wind in­stru­ments, which con­tin­ue to be popular.

In 1914, Dun­hill mar­ried Mol­ly Ar­nold, a great-grand-daughter of Thom­as Ar­nold of Rug­by. She died of tu­ber­cu­lo­sis in 1929. They had three child­ren. (One of his sons, Da­vid Dun­hill, 1917-2005, was a BBC ra­dio an­nounc­er for ma­ny years.) In 1942, he ­mar­ried Is­o­bel Fea­ton­by; they both be­came mu­sic teach­ers at Eton Coll­ege dur­ing World War II.

Dunhill’s works include:

Chamber Mu­sic: A Trea­tise for Stud­ents (Lon­don: Mac­mil­lan, 1913)
"Edward Ger­man, An Ap­pre­ci­a­tion"(Mu­sic­al Times, Vol. 77, No. 1126 (De­cem­ber 1936), pp. 1073–77)
Sullivan’s Com­ic Op­er­as—A Cri­ti­cal Ap­pre­ci­a­tion (Lon­don: Ed­ward Ar­nold, 1928)
Sir Ed­ward Elg­ar (Lon­don: Black­ie & Son, 1938)

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Tunes by Thomas F. Dunhill (2)sort descendingAsInstances
BEATUSThomas Frederick Dunhill, 1877-1946 (Composer)2
REX TERRARUMThomas Frederick Dunhill (Composer)2

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