Ernest John Moeran

English composer
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date of birth
December 31, 1894
date of death
December 1, 1950
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7/5/2003
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Ernest John Smeed Moeran (31 December 1894 – 1 December 1950) was an English composer of part-Irish extraction, whose work was strongly influenced by English and Irish folk music of which he was an assiduous collector. His output includes orchestral pieces, concertos, chamber and keyboard works, and a number of choral and song cycles as well as individual songs. The son of a clergyman, Moeran studied at the Royal College of Music under Charles Villiers Stanford before service in the army during the First World War, in which he was wounded. After the war he was a pupil of John Ireland, and quickly established a reputation as a composer of promise with a number of well-received works. From 1925 to 1928 he shared a cottage with the composer Peter Warlock; the bohemian lifestyle and heavy drinking during this period interrupted his creativity for a while, and sowed the seeds of the alcoholism that would blight his later life. He resumed composing in the 1930s, and re-established his reputation with a series of major works, including a symphony and a violin concerto. From 1934 onwards he spent much of his time in Ireland, mainly in the coastal town of Kenmare. In 1945 Moeran married the cellist Peers Coetmore, and for her he composed several works for cello. The marriage was not destined to last, and Moeran's final years were lonely. He died at Kenmare on 1 December 1950, having fallen into the water after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage. A second symphony was left unfinished at the time of his death.
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