Norman O’Neill

Norman O’Neill (1875-1934) was the leading British theatrical composer in the 1920s and 30s. He composed music for more than 50 plays, notably by J.M. Barrie, Shakespeare, A.A. Milne, Ibsen, Walter Scott and Ashley Dukes, showing a remarkable aptitude for devising music which enhanced a situation and reflected the stage characters. He studied with Arthur Somervell and subsequently with Iwan Knorr in Frankfurt, alongside fellow students Balfour Gardiner, Percy Grainger, Cyril Scott and Roger Quilter – subsequently nicknamed ‘the Frankfurt gang’. O’Neill was Musical Director of the Haymarket Theatre (London) from 1908-19 and returned there in 1920 for the production of J.M. Barrie’s ‘Mary Rose’ – one of his most successful scores.

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