Sir William Walton was an English composer who was well known for his orchestral compositions. Between the times of Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten, his early work established him as one of England's most influential composers.
Walton, the son of a choirmaster father and a soprano mother, played violin and piano haphazardly as a child and sang in his father's choir with somewhat better success. Although he got instruction from Ernest Ansermet and Ferruccio Busoni, he taught himself composition. He enrolled at the University of Oxford in 1912 and sung in the Christ Church choir. He participated through the required four years of study but was denied a bachelor of music degree due to a single test (Responsonions). He was effectively adopted by the Sitwell brothers, Osbert and Sacheverell, whom he met at Oxford and spent the following decade traveling with or residing in Chelsea. He created Façade (1923), a collection of chamber ensemble works to accompany the Sitwells' sister Edith in a reading of her poems, as well as Sinfonia Concertante for piano and orchestra (1928; revised 1943) and Portsmouth Point (1926), which cemented his name as an orchestral composer.
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