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Granville Ransome Bantock (1868–1946)
Son of a pioneering surgeon, Bantock was born in London on 7th August 1868 – the eldest of six children. Interested in animals, literature and the philosophy and culture of exotic places, Granville’s passion for music did not develop until his late teens. His father, however, was keen for him to get a ‘real’ job, rather than become a musician, and enrolled him to study for the Indian Civil Service.
Skipping lectures to attend concerts, it soon became clear that the diplomatic service was not for him. If not a diplomat, then why not something in the chemical industry? This career change was so alien to Granville and his sense for the exotic, that he became ill and spent six months in a darkened room until it was suggested that he really ought to pursue a musical career and he entered the Royal Academy of Music in 1889 to study composition with Frederick Corder. A number of his compositions were performed at the RAM whilst a student, and after leaving those hallowed portals, edited the New Quarterly Musical Review for three years.
Granville’s career was a slow burn, conducting light operas, including A Gaiety Girl on an international tour, but when he became Musical Director at the New Brighton Tower Pleasure Gardens he turned the small seaside band into a full symphony orchestra, presenting concerts of living composers’ works including Elgar, Parry, Stanford, Corder and Sibelius, with whom he became a close friend. Taking a number of posts in Birmingham, he returned to London at his retirement in 1934 where he became associated with Trinity College of Music.