Frederick Delius (1862-1934)
Frederick Albert Theodore Delius CH was an English composer born in Bradford on January 29th 1862. Although born in England, Frederick Delius felt little attraction for the country of his birth and spent most of his life abroad, mainly in the United States and in France.
Delius's parents were immigrants from Bielefeld in Germany who had come to Bradford to set themselves up in the woollen business. Frederick Delius ('Fritz' to his family, 'Fred' to his friends) was the fourth of their fourteen children.
Although Frederick showed early musical promise, his father was very much set against a musical career and wanted Delius to work in the family business. Julius Delius eventually sent Frederick (apparently at Frederick's request) to be the manager of a grapefruit plantation at Solano Grove in Florida. After spending some time in Florida, Delius taught music in Virginia and eventually moved to New York.
After his stay in New York, his father finally agreed to allow him a musical education, and consented to send him to Leipzig to study at the conservatory. He was befriended there by Edvard Grieg, who encouraged him and became a lifelong friend. In 1907 he met Thomas Beecham, who was to be the greatest champion of Delius's music in the English-speaking world and who described Delius as "the last great apostle of romantic beauty in music".
Some of his best-known works include: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Brigg Fair ('An English Rhapsody'), In A Summer Garden, North Country Sketches, Florida Suite, Sea Drift, and The Walk to the Paradise Garden.