Welcome

Welcome to the Stanford Society web site. We are developing this site into a major resource for information concerning the composer Charles Villiers Stanford.

Charles Villiers Stanford (1852- 1924) was one of the leading musicians of his generation and had a profound effect on the development and history of English music as a performer, conductor, composer, teacher and writer.

Stanford_Charles_VilliersBorn in Dublin to a musical family, Stanford attended Queen’s College Cambridge as an organ scholar. He subsequently studied composition in Germany, became organist at Trinity College Cambridge in 1873 and Conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society in 1875. He was appointed Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music in London in 1883 (a position that he held for more than forty years) and Professor of Music at Cambridge in 1888. He subsequently held appointments as Conductor of the Bach Choir in London, The Leeds Philharmonic Society and The Leeds Festival.

Stanford was a prolific composer, completing seven symphonies, eight string quartets, nine operas, more than 300 songs, 30 large scale choral works and a large body of chamber music. He also composed a substantial number of works for the organ, as well as anthems and settings of the canticles for the Anglican Church.

Today Stanford is largely remembered for his songs and religious music as well as his influence on several generations of composition students at the Royal College of Music. These included Sir Arthur Bliss, Frank Bridge, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Rebecca Clarke, Ivor Gurney, Gustav Holst, Herbert Howells, John Ireland, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Charles Wood. There has been a revival of interest in Stanford’s music over the past two decades and an increasing number of his works are now available in recordings.

The Stanford Society was formed in 2007 by a small international group of English music enthusiasts to promote greater interest in Stanford’s life and music and to increase performances and recordings of his compositions. The Society is following in the footsteps of the various societies and trusts formed to promote interest in the life and music of a number of Stanford’s contemporaries and students. The Society’s goals include holding an annual Festival Weekend in a major UK Cathedral/University city to include performances of music by Stanford, his students and contemporaries as well as talks and services. These gatherings have so far taken place in Cambridge, London, Oxford , Durham, Winchester and Dublin.

The Society’s Musical and Historical Advisor is Professor Jeremy Dibble of Durham University. Professor Dibble is the leading authority on Stanford’s life and music. His comprehensive biography of Stanford was published by the Oxford Press in 2002. He has edited and prepared many of Stanford’s scores for performance. In 2012 he orchestrated Stanford’s short score of the Second Violin Concerto ( Opus 162). This was premiered in Durham Cathedral at a Stanford Society Festival Weekend in March 2012 with Rupert Marshall-Luck as soloist. The work has subsequently been recorded by EM Records (EMR CD023).