t h e   r o s a   t r o u p e


Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst was born of a musical family at Cheltenham in 1874, took up the trombone in his teens and graduated to church organist and choirmaster by his seventeenth year. He entered the Royal College of Music in 1893 to study composition under Stanford. When he left in 1898 he earned a living as a professional trombonist with the Rosa orchestra from about 1898 to 1900 and later with the Scottish Orchestra.

Gustav Holst

He was a composer who did not provide operas for the company but was actually a member of it for a time before focusing on composition and teaching. He eventually achieved international recognition with his musical suite The Planets. The photograph and the initials (half-way down on the right-hand side - ‘GvH’) both relate to the young man of the Rosa years who signed the trombone part during one of his early Rosa performances.

The opera was Balfe’s Bohemian Girl, the venue was Saint George’s Hall in Bradford, the date was the last day of 1898. This souvenir of a famous composer before he became famous is in the Rosa Opera Archive. The mature Holst continued with composition and teaching until his death on 25 May 1934. His ashes are interred in Chichester Cathedral.


© 2019 John Ward

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