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Sir Walter Parratt

Sir Walter Parratt KCVO (10 February 1841 – 27 March 1924) was an English organist and composer.

Born in Huddersfield, son of a parish organist, Parratt began to play the pipe organ from an early age, and held posts as an organist while still a child. He was child prodigy: on one occasion he played Bach's complete The Well-Tempered Clavier by heart, without notice, at the age of only ten.

From 1854 to 1861 he was an organist at St Paul's Church in his native town and, as successor to John Stainer, in 1872 at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he remained for ten years. From 1882 he held the post of organist of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. He became Heather Professor of Music at Oxford University in 1908, taking over from Hubert Parry.

He became one of the foremost organ teachers of his day, with many important posts in Britain being filled by his students. He was president of the Royal College of Organists.

Parratt was also a distinguished chess player, and was able to simultaneously play chess and a complex organ piece—at first sight. He served for a few months as president of the Oxford University Chess Club and for two years was captain of the eight chosen to play against Cambridge.


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