Albert William Ketèlbey (1875 - 1959)
Gifted as a child, Albert Ketèlbey won a scholarship to Trinity College of Music in London and soon began to find a place for himself arranging popular orchestral pieces for the piano and piano pieces for the orchestra – an indication of his own profitable activity as a composer. He held a leading position in the Columbia Record Company, providing music for the appropriate accompaniment of silent films, and appeared as a conductor. The sales of his music won him, by 1929, the title of ‘Britain’s greatest living composer’, a judgement based on his commercial success.
Many of Ketèlbey’s works exist both as orchestral and as piano pieces. Among the best known of all, earning a certain notoriety in some circles, are In a Monastery Garden and In a Persian Market.
Ketèlbey himself was a pianist, although he had tried his hand at other instruments. While he had enjoyed enormous success at the height of his career, by the time of his death in 1959 fashions had changed. His piano pieces were then as rarely heard as his compositions for orchestra.