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date: 11 August 2020

Ellis, Vivian (John Herman)locked

  • John Snelson


(John Herman)

(b Hampstead, Oct 29, 1903; d London, June 19, 1996). English composer, lyricist and pianist. His grandmother Julia Woolf (1831–93) was a pianist and composer, publishing piano pieces, songs and the comic opera Carina (1888), and his mother was a violin pupil of Ysaÿe. He won a music scholarship to Cheltenham College and later studied the piano with Myra Hess at the RAM; his recordings of piano medleys of his own work, especially that from Streamline (1934), reveal a strong technique. Inspired by the music of Paul Rubens, particularly after seeing a revival of Tonight's the Night, he turned to composing light music, contributing additional songs to shows including The Curate's Egg (1922) and By the Way (1923). He learned about songwriting styles as a song plugger for Francis, Day & Hunter, and in 1928 became a composer for Chappell. His first transatlantic hit was achieved with ‘I never dreamt’ in the revue ...

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K. Gänzl and A. Lamb: Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre
K. Gänzl: The British Musical Theatre (London, 1986)