A brief biography
Sullivan, whose father was a military
band master and also a theatre musician,
was born in 1842 and by the age of eight
was able to play every wind instrument.
At 12, Sullivan became a chorister in the Chapel Royal and at 16, he was the first and youngest winner of the won the prestigious Mendelssohn Scholarship allowing him to study at the Royal Academy of music and,
for two years, at Leipzig.
His first major work — incidental music to
Shakespeare’s Tempest, immediately won him
fame in 1862 and a string of cantatas, oratorios, ballets, operas, church music, chamber music and ballads followed. He was nominally Master of the Queen’s Music until his early death in 1900. His works (apart from Gilbert) were sidelined for many years by the musical establishment. However, during the last 25 years or so, his work has started to regain the position it so richly deserves.
Arthur Sullivan's work time-line
W S Gilbert: Biography
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ARTHUR SULLIVAN 1842 - 1900
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