George Butterworth

English composer George Sainton Kaye Butterworth was born in London on 12 July 1885 and grew up in York, receiving his first music lessons from his mother, Julia Marguerite Wigan, who was a singer, and beginning to compose when quite young. He studied at Eton and at Trinity College, Oxford, where his friends included Hugh Allen, Adrian Boult, Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams. His friendship with Vaughan Williams included collecting folk songs in the English countryside.

Butterworth began a career in music, composing, teaching at Radley College in Oxfordshire and reviewing for The Times. As a composer he is best known for his orchestral work The Banks of Green Willow and for his settings of poems from A E Housman's A Shropshire Lad.

George Butterworth joined the army at the start of World War I and was killed in action at Pozières, Somme, France on 5 August 1916, aged only thirty-one. Vaughan Williams dedicated his London Symphony to Butterworth's memory.


A selection of articles about George Butterworth

Ensemble. An Almost Physical Impact - Mike Wheeler is impressed by Brahms, Chopin, Butterworth and Elgar from Stephen Hough, Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra

Ensemble. Backwards and Forwards - Mike Wheeler rounds up his coverage of the 2021 Buxton Festival with concerts by Sarah Connoly, Roderick Williams and Natalie Clein

Ensemble. A Neat Idea - A song recital by James Gaughan and David Hammond, heard by Mike Wheeler

CD Spotlight. Vigorously Interpreted - Butterworth, Gurney and Warlock, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... the programme embraces all that is best of English song-writing in the initial phases of the twentieth century ...'

Ensemble. The Treasured Crown - Roderic Dunnett reports in depth on last month's Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester

Ensemble. Particularly Sombre - Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra commemorate The Battle of the Somme, heard by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Top Class Musicianship - Roderic Dunnett visits Gloucester for the 2010 Three Choirs Festival

CD Spotlight. Fifty Years - Celebrating Lyrita's recordings of British music, by George Balcombe. '... a meticulous reproduction of orchestral sound ...'

Ensemble. Expertly Structured - Mike Wheeler was at a song recital by Richard Roddis and Philip Robinson