PRESIDENT: SIR ANDREW DAVIS CBE
Vaughan Williams’ mother was Margaret Wedgwood. She was a direct descendant of pottery magnate, Josiah Wedgwood, and a niece of Charles Darwin, author of the Origin of Species. Her family home was ‘Leith Hill Place’, a farm estate near the village of Coldharbour, a few miles from Dorking in Surrey. Vaughan Williams’ father was Arthur Vaughan Williams, a vicar whose family was of Welsh origin and had distinguished itself in the law. The family home, only a short distance from Leith Hill Place, was known then as it is today, as ‘Tanhurst’.
Arthur Vaughan Williams and Margaret Wedgwood marry on 22 February at Coldharbour Church, near Dorking.
Shortly after, Arthur accepts the ‘living’, and he and Margaret settle into the Vicarage at Down Ampney, in Gloucestershire.
Ralph (pronounced ‘Rafe’) Vaughan Williams is born at the Vicarage in Down Ampney on 12th October.
Vaughan Williams’s father dies on the 9th February.
The family returns to live at Leith Hill Place near Dorking in Surrey, the home of Margaret Wedgwood’s parents.
Ralph receives first lessons in violin. Soon after he begins to write little operas for a toy theatre which was given to him as a present. His manuscript book is entitled, “Overtures by Mr R.V. Williams”.
Takes a correspondence course in musical theory and passes.
Starts school at ‘Rottingdean’ in Sussex.
VW takes piano lessons and is introduced to Bach who was to become a lifelong passion.
During his schooldays, attends concerts. Is especially impressed by the music of Wagner.
Performs Raff’s Cavatina at a school concert.
Ralph starts at Charterhouse in Godalming.
Gives a concert at school of compositions by himself and his friend H. Vivian Hamilton.
Visits Munich where he hears Wagner’s Die Walkerie. VW admired Wagner’s music all his life.
In September, a month before his 18th birthday enters the Royal College of Music with the intention of studying composition under Parry.
He is not permitted to study composition until he passes Grade 5 Harmony.
Passes Grade 5 Harmony and becomes a pupil of Sir Hubert Parry.
In October enters Trinity College, Cambridge to read History but continues to travel to London to attend Parry’s classes.
Studies organ under Alan Gray.
Mahler (aged 32) comes to London to conduct Tristan und Isolde which hugely impresses RVW.
Music B Cantab
Returns to the Royal College of Music where Sir George Grove is succeeded by Hubert Parry.
Begins composition lessons with Stanford.
Becomes the organist at St Barnabas in South Lambeth.
Marries Adeline Fisher at All Saint’s Church, Hove, Sussex, 9 October. His ‘working’ honeymooon means going to Berlin to study with Max Bruch and where he hears an uncut performance of The Ring in addition to a variety of music.
Obtains Fellow of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO) diploma by examination.
Settles at 16 North Street, Westminster then moving to 5 Cowley Street.
Passes Music D Cantab examination. Moves to 10 Barton Street.
Meets Cecil Sharp. Writes Bucolic Suite for orchestra.
Attends first performance of Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius on 3 October, in Birmingham.
Takes Mus. Doc at Cambridge.
First published composition, Linden Lea.
Gives University Extension lectures (and writes articles for The Vocalist for several years.
Bucolic Suite first performed at Bournemouth.
Begins to collect folk-songs. Composes Willow Wood and other vocal works.
Meets Percy Dearmer and begins work on the English Hymnal.
Composes In the Fen Country, The House of Life, and Songs of Travel.
Goes on folk-song collecting expeditions.
First Leith Hill Musical Festival, 10 May.
Moves into 13 Cheyne Walk in November and where he lived for the next 24 years.
Composes Toward the Unknown Region and begins work on A Sea Symphony.
English Hymnal published. Composes three Norfolk Rhapsodies using collected tunes.
Toward the Unknown Region performed. Goes to Paris to study with Ravel.
Composes String Quartet in G minor.
Begins work on On Wenlock Edge.
Music for The Wasps performed at Cambridge.
On Wenlock Edge performed.
A Sea Symphony, first performed at the Leeds Festival.
Tallis Fantasia, first performed at the Three Choirs Festival, Gloucester.
Edits second volume of Purcell’s Welcome Songs.
Begins work on Hugh the Drover.
Conducts and arranged music for Benson’s seasons of plays at Stratford-upon-Avon.
Composes Phantasy Quintet and Fantasy on Christmas Carols.
A London Symphony, (No 2). Later revised at least twice.
First performance of A London Symphony, 27th March and conducted by Geoffery Toye.
Enlisted as a private in the Royal Ambulance Medical Corps.
The Lark Ascending was partially written then revised in the intervening years after the Great War.
Posted to Dorking with 2/4 London Field Ambulance.
Posted to France. Unit is involved in the Battle of the Somme. Then posted to Salonika.
Commissioned as a Lieut. Posted to France.
Served in France. Appointed Director of Music, First Army BEF.
The Honoury Degree of Doctor of Music (D.Mus honoris causa) was conferred on Vaughan Williams at Oxford.
His A Sea Symphony, performed by the Oxford Bach Choir and conducted by Hugh Allen, was given in the Sheldonian in celebration of the 250th anniversary of its opening.
The Lark Ascending first public performance at Shirehampton Public Hall, Bristol, on 15 December 1920.
Appointed Conductor of the Bach Choir.
A Pastoral Symphony performed, Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains performed at the RCM.
First visit to America. Mass in G minor performed.
Old King Cole performed at Cambridge.
Hugh the Drover staged at the Royal College of Music under Malcolm Sargent.
Flos Campi; Concerto Academico performed. Songs of Praise published.
Sancta Civitas performed in Oxford. On Christmas Night staged in Chicago.
Composes Along the Field.
Resigns from the Bach Choir. Co-edits The Oxford Book of Carols with Martin Shaw.
Moves to Dorking. Sir John in Love staged at the Royal College of Music. Completes Fantasia on Sussex Folk Tunes for Pablo Casals.
Job – First performance at the Norwich Festival.
Job staged in London
Gives the Mary Flexner Lectures at Bryn Mawr on National Music.
Piano Concerto performed in London.
Death of Gustv Holst. Suite for Viola performed in London.
Symphony 4 in F minor performed under Boult, BBC Symphony Concert.
Created Order of Merit.
The Poisoned Kiss performed at Cambridge 12 May.
Five Tudor Portraits performed at Norwich.
Dona Nobis Pacem performed at Huddersfield.
Festival Te Deum performed at George VI’s Coronation in Westminster Abbey.
Riders to the Sea staged at The Royal College of Music.
Meets Ursula Wood for the first time 31st March.
Serenade to Music performed at the Royal Albert Hall.
Film music, war work, lecturing, writing.
DIves and Lazarus performed in New York.
“Symphony No 5” Symphony in D major performed under RVW.
Oboe Concerto performed. Second String Quartet (‘For Jean on her Birthday’) performed in London.
Offers Leith Hill Place to the National Trust.
Thanksgiving for Victory.
Introduction and Fugue for two pianos composed.
The Loves of Joanna Godden.
Symphony in E minor (no 6) composed. Scott of the Antarctic composed.
Folk Songs of the Four Seasons. Concero Grosso.
Pilgrim’s Progress staged at Covent Garden. Begins work on Sinfonia Antartica.
Adeline Vaughan Williams, dies 10th May after a long and debilitating illness.
Romance for Harmonica; An Oxford Elegy.
Sinfonia Antartica (Symphony No 7) performed under Barbirolli in Manchester.
Marries Ursula Wood.
Moves to Hanover Terrace in Regents Park, London.
Tuba Concerto performed in London.
Hodie performed in Worcester, Violin Sonata.
Lecturesat Cornell. University and undertakes a Lecture tour across USA and Canada, taking in Toronto, Universities of Michigan, California and Yale.
Conducts A London Symphony in Buffalo.
Symphony in D minor (Symphony No 8).
Symphony in E minor (Symphony No 9) performed in London.
Ten Blake Songs performed in London, 8 October.
Dies 26th August at Hanover Terrace.
Ashes interred at Westminster Abbey on 19 September.
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