Of the most influential musical figures of Victorian Britain, John Stainer must be considered a seminal personality who shaped the course of the nation’s history and progress. Though nowadays neglected as a composer, his influence as a church musician in the formation of the ‘reformed’ cathedral choir was immense and far-reaching. His work in education was indefatigable both in the world of publishing and in the inspection of schools and training colleges, and, as Professor of Music at Oxford University, he did much to change the ambience of the music degree not only through his imaginative and original lecture series but also through the example of his own work as an antiquarian and theorist. In addition to these activities, we should remember that, at the heart of Stainer’s professional life, his career was moulded by his brilliance as an organist, and it was his work as a cathedral organist and concert organist that provided a model for his many students and younger colleagues well into the twentieth century.
Jeremy Dibble examines John Stainer's life in this article which first appeared in the RCO Journal of 2007.
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