Cusins, Sir William George


Born in London. A composer, pianist and conductor, who began his musical career as a choir-boy at the Chapel Royal in 1843. He was a pupil of Fetis in the Brussels Conservatory, in 1844, and of the Academy of Music, in 1847, under various teachers. Took the King's Scholarship in 1847, and again in 1849, and in the latter year was appointed organist of the Queen's private chapel, and also became violinist in the Italian Opera Orchestra. In 1851 he was assistant professor of piano at the Royal Academy and succeeded Bennett as conductor of the Philharmonic Society and, in 1870, became conductor of the Royal band. He held many high offices and was knighted by the Queen in 1892. Among his works are a royal wedding serenade, two cantatas, an oratorio, Gideon, written for the Gloucester Festival in 1871; two concert-overtures, piano-pieces, and songs and marches. He also contributed to Grove's Dictionary of Music.