Albert E Kelly

From Wind Repertory Project


Albert Edward Kelly (b. 8 September 1914, London) was a British composer. His father, Tim Kelly, was a member of the Band of the Grenadier Guards for several years and later a professional theater musician. Young Kelly received his first music lessons from his father and enlisted in the Dragoon Guards as a Junior Bandsman at the age of 14.

His ambition to enroll at the Royal Military School of Music and become a military bandmaster was blocked by the outbreak of World War II, and in September 1939 he embarked for France as a member of the British Expeditionary Force. When his regiment encountered overwhelming German resistance in Belgium, they were forced to evacuate from Dunkirk back to England. Returning to the continent on D-Day in 1944, his regiment (4/7th Dragoon Guards) suffered many casualties during the heavy fighting. Kelly was wounded in July 1944 and was evacuated to a hospital in England.

After the war he completed requirements at the Royal Military School of Music while receiving LRAM and ARCM diplomas at the Royal Academy and Royal College of Music, respectively. He served as bandmaster of the Royal Sussex Regiment and in 1958 was awarded the title Director of Music. After leaving the army in 1961, he became an executive officer in the British Civil Service, from which he retired in 1979.

Although Kelly’s compositions are few in number, they are very popular with both military and civilian bands. His published works include Summer Serenade (Bridget’s Serenade) and the following marches: Arromanches, Arnhem, Utopia, Amsterdam Harbour (published and recorded by Molenaar in 1982), and Holiday in Spain. The latter work was completed after Kelly was transferred from the cold and somber surroundings in Korea to the warm and sunny atmosphere of Gibraltar. It was published as Holiday in Spain by Molenaar and as Three Bagatelles by Chappell.

Works for Winds


  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 339.