Wallace, William Vincent



Gifted Scotch-Irish musician, who led a remarkably adventurous life and produced some excellent work. He was born at Waterford, Ireland, about 1812, of Scotch descent and came of a musical family. After the family changed its residence to Dublin his brother played second flute in a band of which his father was master. When very young Wallace gave evidence of talent of unusual degree; his skill as an organist was recognized before he left Waterford, and in Dublin the boy showing great proficiency as a violinist and was able to lead the band in his father's absence. In 1835 he left Ireland with his newly-wedded wife, but the pair soon after disagreed and separated. Wallace now went off to Australia and might have become immured in the wilds of that land had not some one in Sidney heard him play while he was on a visit there and called the attention of the Governor to the emigrant who handled the violin like a master. He was invited to give a concert, which proved a tremendous success. The Governor's payment was a characteristic one, one hundred sheep. Wallace continued his roamings, and had his ful! share of adventure in New Zealand, Tasmania, the East Indies, and in South America. He reaped a harvest in the South American cities; came north to Mexico and here conducted Italian Opera and wrote a mass; created a sensation in New Orleans; in 1845 returned to London. His opera, Maritana, was produced at Drury Lane, London, the same year and was extremely successful. In 1847 appeared Matilda of Hungary. He next is heard of in Germany, where he abode some time and wrote his charming piano-pieces and part of the opera Lurline. Then he again crossed the ocean, made triumphal tours in North and South America; his concerts in New York bringing him rich financial return. In 1853 he was once more in London; in 1860 the very successful and highly creditable Lurline was produced at Covent Garden Theatre; the following year The Amber Witch appeared; then came the operas, Love's Triumph, and The Desert Flower. Work on another opera was interrupted by ill-health. He died at Haute Garonne in the autumn of 1865.