Edward Elgar

Fun Facts

  • Elgar's father had a music shop, worked as a piano tuner, and was an accomplished violinist and organist.

  • After hearing leading virtuosi at London concerts, Elgar felt his own violin playing lacked a full enough tone, and he abandoned his ambitions to be a soloist.

  • Elgar struggled in his early years as a composer; it wasn't until he was in his forties that he achieved popularity and acclaim.

  • Elgar became the first British composer of international reputation since Henry Purcell.

  • The trio from Elgar's first Pomp and Circumstance March is one of the most widely performed pieces in the world and has become synonymous with graduations.

  • Elgar's wife, Alice, was disinherited for marrying him, but their marriage was a happy one.  She acted as his business manager and social secretary, dealt with his mood swings, and was a perceptive musical critic.

  • One of Elgar's most popular works, the Enigma Variations, is also his most mysterious. Each of the fourteen variations has a cryptic subtitle that related to a particular person in Elgar's life.

  • Elgar enjoyed cycling, drives around the countryside, horse races, and football matches.

  • Over 60 roads in the United Kingdom are named in honor of Elgar.

  • Elgar was knighted at Buckingham Palace.

  • In his sixties, Elgar took a voyage to Brazil, where he embarked on a cruise of the Amazon.

  • Elgar died of cancer at the age of 76.

More Resources

Fun Facts

Check out our collection of interesting and (some) little known facts about Elgar.

Biography

View Edward Elgar's full biography.