Gustav Holst

Composer Biography

Gustav Holst (born 21 September 1874, in Gloucestershire, UK, died 25 May 1934, in London) was a British composer and educator. He learned piano at an early age, but was stricken with a nerve condition that affected the movement of his right hand, forcing him to give up the piano for the trombone. He received his degrees from The Royal College of Music in London, where he met fellow composer (and lifelong friend) Ralph Vaughn Williams and became interested in Hindu mysticism and spirituality, interests that would later shape the course of his compositional output. In 1901 Holst married Isobel Harrison, who would remain with him the remainder of his life.
Before Holst became a well-known composer, he relied on income from playing the trombone in the Carl Rosa Opera Company and in the White Viennese Band, a popular orchestra specializing in "light music." In 1905, Holst became Director of Music at the St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, London, and in 1907, he also became director of music at Morley College, retaining both positions until his death in 1934. Holst's compositions for wind band, although only a small portion of his total output, have made him a cornerstone of the genre.


Gustav Holst at
Gustav Holst at the Wind Band Repertory Project

Works by Composer

First Suite in Eb
Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo
Marching Song
Moorside March
The Planets
Second Suite in F