Rockstro [Rackstraw], W(illiam) S(mith) [Smyth]
- Rosemary Williamson
(b North Cheam, Surrey, Jan 5, 1823; d London, July 2, 1895). English music historian, composer, teacher and pianist. Baptized at Morden church in the name of Rackstraw, he used an older form of his surname from 1846. His first teacher was the blind organist John Purkis and he received tuition in composition and piano from William Sterndale Bennett. His earliest work to be performed in public was the song Soon shall chilling fear assail thee, sung by Joseph Staudigl at Franz Cramer's farewell concert in London on 27 June 1844. From 20 May 1845 to 24 June 1846 he studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Mendelssohn (composition and piano), Moritz Hauptmann (theory) and Louis Plaidy (piano).
On his return to London Rockstro gave lessons in piano and singing, and was the regular accompanist at the Wednesday Concerts. In the early 1860s he moved to Torquay and in ...