Sir William Walton, the son of a choirmaster and a singing tutor, was born in 1902 in Oldham, Lancashire. He was a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford before enrolling at Oxford University as an undergraduate. He had no formal compositional training at this period or any other time, even while he later obtained conducting guidance from Ernest Ansermet and Eugene Goossens, he may be considered mostly self-taught. A piano quartet, composed when he was sixteen, was his first piece to gain notice. The 1922 String Quartet and the 1923 Toccata for Violin and Piano are two early ‘avant-garde' works that have recently been rehabilitated to great acclaim.
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