Henry Hiles

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Born: 31 December 1826

Died: 20 October 1904


Henry Hiles was born in Shrewsbury, the youngest of six boys. He began studying the piano at the age of 4 and the organ a few years later. At age 13 he deputized at several churches in Shrewsbury and, at 18, was appointed organist at the Parish Church of Bury, near Manchester. In 1851 he struck out to Australia with the gold rush. He noted in a 1900 interview for The Musical Times that, in those colonial days, “You had to fire off a revolver every night to show your neighbour that you possessed fire arms.” He spent £150 to find three ounces of gold and returned to England in 1857. He became organist at St. Michael Wood Street, London, but soon went to Manchester as organist at Henshaw’s Blind Asylum and St. Thomas Church, Old Trafford. He studied at Oxford where he earned a Bachelor and Doctor of Music degrees. He was editor and owner The Quarterly Musical Review from 1885-1888 and founded the Society of Professional Musicians. He taught at the Royal Manchester College of Music (University of Manchester) and was conductor of many important choral societies– at Knutsford, Blackburn, Preston, Warrington, and Manchester. He composed an oratorio, an operetta, some cantatas, piano pieces and many songs and part-songs.

View the Wikipedia article on Henry Hiles.

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