Sir Charles Villiers Stanford was a late 19th century Irish composer, teacher and conductor. He, along with several other composers including Hubert Parry and Edward Elgar, inspired a late 19th century renaissance in English music by combining the traditions of both German and Celtic music to create a new instrumental idiom.
Stanford was born in Dublin, Ireland, which was at the time still part of the British Empire. He was the only child of John James Stanford and his second wife Mary. John Stanford was a prominent lawyer and Mary also came from a distinguished legal family. John enjoyed music and was a decent singer and cellist. Many musicians frequented the Stanford house, both amateur and professional musicians, among them Joachim.
Charles Stanford received a very fine education in the classics and music. His first music lessons were on the violin, piano and organ, though, it was as a composer that he showed the most promise. His education also reflected the influence of Dublin’s greatest musicians, Robert Stewart, Joseph Robinson and Michael Quarry. From Stewart he gained valuable insight into church and organ music, while from Robinson he was able to learn much about conducting and from Quarry he learned about the music of Bach, Schumann and Brahms. Later, in 1862, he studied composition with Arthur O’Leary in London and piano with Ernst Pauer.