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date: 18 January 2020

Bennett, Sir William Sterndalelocked

  • Rosemary Williamson
  •  and Nicholas Temperley


(b Sheffield, April 13, 1816; d London, Feb 1, 1875). English composer. He ranks as the most distinguished English composer of the Romantic school.

Nicholas Temperley

For his early musical training he was chiefly indebted to his grandfather, John Bennett (1754–1837), who came from Ashford, Derbyshire, but moved to Cambridge in 1792 as a bass lay clerk in the choirs of King’s, Trinity and St John’s colleges. His sixth son Robert (1788–1819) became a chorister at King’s, was made in 1804 an articled pupil of John Clarke (later Clarke-Whitfeld), organist of Trinity and St John’s, and became organist of Sheffield parish church in 1811. On 28 May 1812 he married Elizabeth Donn, daughter of the curator of the Cambridge Botanic Gardens. Their three children were born at Sheffield. The third child, and only son, was named after William Sterndale, a Sheffield friend who had supplied the verses for a set of Six Songs which Robert Bennett had composed and published the year before (Bennett never treated the name Sterndale as part of his surname, though it has been adopted as such by his descendants). Elizabeth Bennett died, aged 27, on ...

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Music & Letters
Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association
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Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 1885-1901, suppls., 1901-96)
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Neue Zeitschrift für Musik
G. Grove, ed.: A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1878, 1880, 1883, 1899)
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