• Radley College, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 2HR
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George Butterworth

Radley is proud to stage a two-day celebration of George Butterworth's life, work and influences, in collaboration with the English Music Festival on 26th and 27th May. The College-wide commemoration will mark the Centenary of George Butterworth's death and celebrate his connections with the College.

During the Festival more than 100 Radley boys, together with distinguished visiting speakers and musicians, will be involved in a range of concerts, readings, talks, plays and art installations; there will even be some Morris dancing. We also look forward to welcoming Petroc Trelawny, presenter of BBC Radio 3’s ‘Breakfast’ and ‘Music Matters’, who will give a talk on Butterworth. Please find below details of the programme of events happening across the two-day commemoration.

Thursday 26th May

Gala Concert  
Silk Hall, 8.30pm  Introduced by John Bridcut (O.R)
George Butterworth:
Two English Idylls, Rhapsody: A Shropshire Lad, Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad (orchestrated Russman), Love blows as the wind blows, The Banks of Green Willow, Fantasia for Orchestra (unfinished).

To watch a live broadcast on Thursday please click here.

Gala Concert Programme: Thursday 26th May at 8.30pm

Friday 27th May

The College-wide commemoration of George Butterworth will take place between 11-15am to 12-45pm on Friday 27th May. To view the programme of events please click on the links below.

Detailed Events Schedule

Programme: Friday 27th May

Parent Letter

As we commemorate at Radley College the centenary year of George Butterworth’s untimely death on the Western Front, it is fitting to consider his links with the College and his contribution to the war effort. 

In 1909 a talented young musician and Oxford graduate took up a teaching post at Radley College, living in The Lodge at the entrance to the school and composing his most famous work, ‘A Shropshire Lad’, a song cycle based on poems by A.E Housman.  His responsibilities at Radley involved taking charge of teaching piano, and he was conveniently installed at The Lodge. This afforded him ample opportunity to pursue his own interests in composition and to develop his own skills as a pianist. In early November he took part in a chamber recital, playing the piano part in Beethoven’s Ghost Trio and in movements from Schubert’s Trio in B-flat, as well as accompanying several vocal and violin solos. The concert was reported in the College’s journal, The Radleian, in which the writer said of Butterworth:

"His delightful rendering of the piano induces us to look forward to the enjoyment in the future of many good things from his store and skill."

Only seven years later, aged 31, George Butterworth's life was cut short valiantly defending a trench at the Battle of the Somme.

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