This year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the British composer and music educator Sir Hubert Parry. If there is one piece of music that he will be remembered for it is, obviously, ‘Jerusalem’, the anthem of the Women’s Institute to whom Parry gave the royalties, of the Commonwealth Games and much else besides. It is in many ways our second national anthem.
What is less well known is that Sir Hubert Parry was born in Bournemouth in 1848, and Christened at St Peter’s Church where his mother, who succumbed to TB just 12 days after his birth, is also buried.
After a brief career as a Lloyds Underwriter, Sir Hubert went on to become one of Britain’s most eminent composers who revived British classical music in the late 19th Century and helped forge a particular English style. But just as important, he was a great music educator. He was a founding editor of Groves Dictionary of Music, was a founding professor of composition and musical history at the Royal College of Music (established 1882) and went on to become its second Director. In the process he taught Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, John Ireland and others and his writings on music influenced Edward Elgar. In later life he returned to Bournemouth to conduct Dan Godfrey’s Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra, today the esteemed Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
It is a great pleasure to be able stage a Festival to honour one of Bournemouth’s most illustrious sons. We hope it will revive an interest in his music and increase local interest and pride in this relatively young town and its hidden history. It is also particularly appropriate to be able to stage the Festival in St Peter’s Church, which has such strong Parry associations. I am grateful to Rev’d Ian Terry and his team and all the performers for the positive welcome and support they have given this Parry 100 Festival. I hope you will come, enjoy and do likewise.