Prout, Ebenezer



English theorist and composer; born at Oundle, Northampton. Was graduated from London University in 1854. Was very fond of music as a boy, but his father, a Congregational minister, objected to his following music as a career. After teaching for several years he adopted music as a profession in 1859, and became organist successively of several different churches. In 1860 he had become professor of piano at the Crystal Palace School of Art, and retained that position until 1885, when he changed to the Guildhall School. When a boy he had taken a few lessons in piano and later a course from Charles Salaman, but this was the only instruction he ever received. From 1876 to 1882 he taught harmony and composition at the National Training School, and in 1879 he took Sullivan's class at the Royal Academy of Music. As conductor of the Hackney Choral Association, from 1876 to 1890, he brought out many excellent works, some for the first time in England. As a writer he is very prominent. From 1871 to 1874 he was editor of the   Monthly Musical Review; was musical critic of the Academy from 1874 to 1879, and of the Athenaeum for the next ten years. He is the author of a series of valuable educational works, including Instrumentation; Harmony, Theory and Practise; Counterpoint, Strict and Free; Double Counterpoint and Canon; Fugue; Fugal Analysis; Musical Form; Applied Forms; and The Orchestra, in two volumes. Since 1894 he has been professor of music at Dublin University, and in 1895 was given the Doctor's degree by both Dublin and Edinburgh Universities. He destroyed all his compositions written prior to 1856. Those which he preserved are the cantatas, Hereward, Alfred, Queen Aminee, The Red Cross Knight, and Damon and Phintias; an unfinished setting of Scott's drama, The Doom of Devorgoil; for orchestra, four symphonies, still in manuscript; a minuet and trio; overtures to Twelfth Night, and Rokeby; Suite de Ballet; a suite in D, unpublished; much chambermusic, including two string quartets, which took the prizes of the Society of British Musicians in 1862 and 1865; piano and organ music; church-music; also songs, part-songs, and choruses. There is in manuscript a comic opera, Love and Taxation, written in 1883. The speed, thoroughness and perseverance shown in his work is marvelous, as is his memory. He plays almost entirely without notes and transposes from key to key with the greatest ease. He is the owner of a splendid library, containing many full scores and complete editions. Prout is very fond of Bach, and has written amusing words to his forty-eight preludes and fugues.