Steggall, Charles



Noted English organist and composer; born in London, and from his earliest years a devotee of music. He entered his father's counting-house, but perceiving that the boy's interests were elsewhere, the elder Steggall consented to his taking up a musical career. He became a pupil at the Royal Academy of Music, studying harmony, piano and composition with Sterndale Bennett, who was his lifelong friend. After leaving the Royal Academy, Steggall was organist successively of several London churches, and in 1864 was appointed organist and director of the choir to the Honorable Societies of Lincoln's Inn, and held the office until his death, being succeeded by his son, Mr. Reginald Steggall. His earliest compositions were a part-song or overture, Die Elf en; a Kyrie Eleison and a Gloria, beside a festival setting of the thirtythird Psalm. In 1851 Steggall was made principal professor of the organ at the Royal Academy of Music, and while holding that position taught a large number of pupils who afterward became well known. The same year he was given the degree of Bachelor of Music and Doctor of Music by Cambridge University, was honorary secretary of the Bach Society during the whole period of its existence, and was also one of the founders of the College of Organists. As a composer he is best known by his church-music, which includes a sacred cantata; eight church services; carols and chants; an organ arrangement of Mendelssohn's Elijah; and hymns, beside many arrangements for the organ and other works. Steggall also lectured on Music as Applied to Religion, contributed to many collections of hymns and anthems, edited Church Psalms and Hymns, Ancient and Modern, and wrote an instruction book for the organ. He died in London.