English composer and conductor; professor of music at the University of Birmingham 1908–34. He is chiefly known today for his colourful Pierrot of the Minute overture (1908). Also notable amongst his vast output in all genres, much of it inspired by the East, are the Hebridean Symphony (1915), the oratorio Omar Khayyám (1906–09) for chorus and orchestra, Atalanta in Calydon (1911), a symphony for unaccompanied chorus, and Sappho (1906), an orchestral song cycle.
Born in London, the son of a doctor, he was educated for the civil service, but entered the Royal Academy of Music in 1889, where some of his earliest works were performed, and Lago produced the opera Cædmar at the Olympic Theatre in 1892. After some experience in theatrical conducting, he gave a concert of modern English music in 1896. The next year he was appointed conductor at the Tower, New Brighton, where he introduced much contemporary music. In February 1900 he gave a concert of new English music in Antwerp and in September was appointed principal of the Birmingham and Midland Institute School of Music. He remained in Birmingham until 1933, where he succeeded Edward Elgar as professor of music at the university in 1908.
WorksStage operas, including Sappho (1906), The Seal Woman (1924).
Orchestral comedy overture The Pierrot of the Minute (1908), symphonic poem Dante and Beatrice (1911), Fifine at the Fair (1901), Hebridean Symphony (1915), A Pagan Symphony (1926), Symphony no. 3 (The Cyprian Goddess), Celtic Symphony.
Chorus and orchestral (with or without solo voices) Omar Khayyám (setting of FitzGerald's translation in three parts; 1909).
Unaccompanied chorus choral symphony Atalanta in Calydon (Swinburne; 1911), Vanity of Vanities (Ecclesiastes).
Songs including cycles Songs from the Chinese Poets (eight sets).
Chamber Viola sonata (1919), three cello sonatas (1924, 1940, 1945), three violin sonatas (1929, 1932, 1940).
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