Holmes, Alfred, English violinist and composer; b. London, Nov. 9, 1837; d. Paris, March 4, 1876. His only teacher was his father, an amateur violinist. He sang at the Oratory in London as a soprano chorister, and appeared as a violinist at the age of 9, playing a duet with his brother, Henry, with whom he went on a European tour, playing in Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands (1855–61). He then lived in Paris (1861–64). He visited Russia in 1867, and then returned to Paris, making occasional visits to London. He composed 4 programmatic syms., entitled Robinhood, The Siege of Paris, Charles XII, and Romeo and Juliet, and 2 overtures, The Cid and The Muses. His brother, Henry Holmes (b. London, Nov. 7, 1839; d. San Francisco, Dec. 9, 1905), was also a precocious violinist and composer. After 1865 he settled in London, where he taught at the Royal Coll. of Music. In 1894 he went to San Francisco, where he remained until his death. He wrote 4 syms., 2 cantatas, a Violin Concerto (London, Dec. 11, 1875), and chamber music.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire