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Roger Quilter

Roger Cuthbert Quilter (1 November 1877 – 21 September 1953) was an English composer, known particularly for his songs.

Born in Hove, Sussex (a commemorative blue plaque is on the house at 4 Brunswick Square), Quilter was a younger son of Sir William Quilter, 1st Baronet, a wealthy noted landowner, politician and art collector.

Roger Quilter was educated first in the preparatory school at Farnborough. He then moved to Eton College and later became a fellow-student of Percy Grainger, Cyril Scott and H. Balfour Gardiner at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, where he studied for almost five years under the guidance of the German professor of composition Iwan Knorr. Quilter belonged to the Frankfurt Group, a circle of composers who studied at the Hoch Conservatory in the late 1890s. His reputation in England rests largely on his songs and on his light music for orchestra, such as his Children's Overture, with its interwoven nursery rhyme tunes, and a suite of music for the play Where the Rainbow Ends. He is noted as an influence on several English composers, including Peter Warlock.

Quilter enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with the tenor Gervase Elwes until the latter's death in 1921. In November 1936, Quilter's opera Julia was presented at Covent Garden by the British Music Drama Opera Company under the direction of Vladimir Rosing.

As a homosexual, he found it difficult to cope with some of the pressures which he felt were imposed upon him, and eventually deteriorated into mental illness after the loss of his nephew Arnold Guy Vivian during the Second World War.

He died at his home in St John's Wood, London, a few months after celebrations to mark his 75th birthday, and was buried in the family vault at St Mary's Church, Bawdsey, Suffolk.



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