Erik Chisholm

Scottish Music Centre

Erik Chisholm (1904 - 1965) - Full biography

Erik Chisholm

Erik Chisholm was a musician of rare capabilities. He was a pianist and organist, a conductor, a composer, a lecturer on music, an entrepreneur and administrator and to all these he brought a unique blend of originality, flair and energy. After an early start as a performing pianist, Chisholm established himself in Glasgow as an important influence on the progress of music in Scotland and Scottish music in general. He founded the Active Society for the Propagation of Contemporary Music and through this and the Glasgow Grand Opera Society; he brought many first performances to that city. Berlioz’ Les Troyens, for example, was first heard in the UK under his baton, as was Beatrice and Benedict and Mozart’s Idomeneo. He formed many other organisations including the Scottish Ballet Society and in the meantime composed prolifically. Chisholm’s passion for traditional Scottish music should also be noted.

Chisholm’s time in South Africa, notably as Principal of the South Africa College of Music and Professor of Music in Cape Town University, was equally productive. Here he focussed on the promotion of opera (including some of his own fascinating works) and introduced much new music to South Africa.

The most progressive composer that Scotland has produced. Sir Arnold Bax.

The most brilliant of Scottish musicians. Sir Hugh S Roberton.

The forgotten man of 20th Century Scottish Music. Kenneth Walton

Erik Chisholm (1904 - 1965) is the most interesting 20th-century Scots musician you've never heard of. Grant Covell