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Edward Bairstow

August 22, 1874 - May 1, 1946
born in Huddersfield, W. Yorks, England, composed during the Modern period
Better known in his time as an organist, Edward Cuthbert Bairstow is best remembered today for his anthems for church service, particularly for "Save Us, O Lord," "Blessed City," and "Let all mortal flesh keep silence."He also wrote much other sacred music and a handful of organ and piano compositions.

Bairstow was born in Huddersfield, England, on August, 22, 1874. He enrolled at the University of Durham, where he studied organ and music theory, graduating in 1894. He obtained a doctorate degree in music from that university in 1901. His chief organ teachers were John Farmer and Frederick Bridge. He was an apprentice to the latter at Westminster Abbey from in 1893 to 1899, and during this same six-year period served as organist at All Saints Church, Norfolk Square. In 1899 he was appointed organist at Wigan Parish Church; while in this post he also took on duties as choral director for local groups and as a private vocal teacher. His earliest compositions date to this turn-of-the century era, with the aforementioned anthem "Save Us, O Lord" (1902) being his first great success.

His appointment as organist at Leeds Parish Church in 1907 allowed him to branch out into activity at the Leeds Festival, first as organist (1907 and 1910), then as conductor, from 1917 onward. Bairstow's next organ post came in 1913 at York Minster, a position he would retain for the rest of his life. It was during this York period that he composed perhaps his two most popular anthems, "Blessed City" (1914) and "Let all mortal flesh keep silence" (1925) and his masterly 1937 Organ Sonata.

Bairstow accepted a professorship at Durham University in 1929, but remained a resident in York owing to the light teaching demands at his alma mater. Bairstow received several important honors in the coming years: knighthood (1932) and honorary doctorate degrees at Leeds University (1936) and Oxford University (1945). Bairstow died in York on May 1, 1946. ~ Robert Cummings, Rovi
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