Edward Bairstow

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Sir Edward Cuthbert Bairstow was born in Huddersfield on 22 August 1874 and died in York on 1 May 1946. He was an English organist and composer in the Anglican church music tradition.

He studied organ with John Farmer at Balliol College, Oxford, and while articled under Frederick Bridge of Westminster Abbey received tuition from Walter Alcock. He studied organ and theory at the University of Durham, receiving the Bachelor of Music in 1894, and the Doctor of Music in 1901.

After holding posts in London, Wigan and Leeds, he served as organist of York Minster from 1913 to his death, when he was succeeded by his former pupil Francis Jackson. He was knighted in 1932.

Notorious for his terseness and bluntness, Bairstow did not always endear himself to others. Asked whether he would be willing to follow the example of his predecessor at York, Thomas Tertius Noble, and go to the USA, he replied that he would "rather go to the devil". Comfortably ensconced in Yorkshire, where he was a close friend of the equally blunt Dr Moody, Organist at Ripon Cathedral, he refused the offer to succeed Frederick Bridge at Westminster Abbey. He instead recommended his erstwhile pupil Ernest Bullock, who was duly appointed to the post.

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