Harty, Sir Hamilton

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Harty, Sir Hamilton (1879–1941). Irish composer, conductor, and pianist. After holding organist's posts at Belfast and Dublin, Harty moved to London in 1900, where his Comedy Overture was performed at the Promenade Concerts (1907) and his Violin Concerto premièred by Szigeti (1909). Having gained a reputation as a conductor through concerts with the London Symphony and Hallé Orchestras, he was appointed permanent conductor to the Hallé from 1920 to 1933. Under his leadership the orchestra became one of the finest in the country, performing many new works (including his own Irish Symphony) and giving memorable English premières of Mahler's ninth and Shostakovich's first Symphonies. A witty and sometimes controversial figure, he is probably best known today for his full orchestral arrangements of Handel's Water Music and Fireworks Music.

Eric Cross