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Elwes, Gervase (Cary)

Elwes, Gervase (Cary)

Elwes, Gervase (Cary), noted English tenor; b. Billing Hall, near Northampton, Nov. 15, 1866; d. when hit by a train in the railroad station in Boston, Jan. 12, 1921. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and then entered the diplomatic service. While stationed in Vienna (1891–95), he studied singing, and then took voice lessons in Brussels with Demest, in London with Henry Russell and Victor Beigel, and in Paris with Bouhy. In 1903 he made his professional debut at the Westmoreland Festival, and that same year his first London appearance in concert. Thereafter he distinguished himself as a concert and oratorio singer in England. In 1909 he toured the U.S., and again in 1920–21, at which time he lost his life. After his death, a special fund was organized in his memory, which became the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund of London. He was especially esteemed as the Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, as Elgar’s Gerontius, and as an interpreter of Brahms’s lieder.


W. and R. Elwes, G.E.: The Story of His Life (London, 1935).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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