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Gustav Holst

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Gustav Holst


Gustav Holst (21 September 1874, Gloucestershire, U.K. – 25 May 1934, London) was a British composer and educator.

Holst learned piano at an early age, but was stricken with a nerve condition that affected the movement of his right hand, forcing him to give up the piano for the trombone. He received his degrees from The Royal College of Music in London, where he met fellow composer (and lifelong friend) Ralph Vaughan Williams and became interested in Hindu mysticism and spirituality, interests that would later shape the course of his compositional output. In 1901 Holst married Isobel Harrison, who would remain with him the remainder of his life.

Before Holst became a well-known composer, he relied for income from playing the trombone in the Carl Rosa Opera Company and in the White Viennese Band, a popular orchestra specializing in "light music." In 1905, Holst became director of music at the St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, London, and in 1907, he also became director of music at Morley College, retaining both positions until his death in 1934.

Holst's compositions for wind band, although only a small portion of his total output, have made him a cornerstone of the genre.

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