Sir William Walton

Sir William Turner Walton by Bassano & Vandyk Studios, 1974 Photographs Collection NPG x81194The son of a musician, Composer William Turner Walton was born in Oldham, Lancashire. Walton was a chorister and then an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford. On leaving the university, he was taken up by the literary Sitwell siblings, who provided him with a home and a cultural education. His earliest work of note was a collaboration with Edith Sitwell, Façade, which at first brought him notoriety as a modernist, but later became a popular ballet score.

During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera. His best-known works include Façade, the cantata Belshazzar's Feast, the Viola Concerto, the First Symphony, and the British Coronation anthems Crown Imperial and Orb and Sceptre.