Bell, William Henry

b. St Alban's, England, 20 August 1873 

d. Gordon's Bay, South Africa, 13 April 1946

Composer and teacher. Bell was educated at St Alban's Grammar School, then studied at the Royal Academy of Music under Frederick Corder, Charles Stanford and others. He was appointed organist of St Alban's Cathedral in 1893 and was later organist of All Saints Church in London. He was made professor of harmony and counterpoint at the Royal Academy of Music in 1903. His works were performed in these years by leading conductors such as Henry Wood, Thomas Beecham, Hans Richter and Arthur Nikisch. He moved to South Africa in 1912 when he was appointed principal of the South African College of Music. The College was incorporated into the University of Cape Town in 1923. His students there included Johannes Fagan, Cecilia Wessels and Blanche Gerstman. He retired in 1935, but continued to teach composition at the College, and numbered Stefans Grové, Hubert du Plessis, John Joubert amongst his students. Bell's works were often performed in the Cape, on occasion conducted by Bell himself. He was married to the pianist Helen McEwen, a sister of the former principal of the Royal Academy of Music in London, John McEwen.

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