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William Edward Taylor 1867 - 1911

William Edward Taylor was the organist and choirmaster of St Paul's Cathedral for 20 years, from 1891 to 1911. He was born in London in 1867, his father being a schoolmaster in Battersea. Taylor was educated at Sir Walter St John's School and the City of London School. As a student at the Royal Academy of Music he obtained silver and bronze medals for organ playing, harmony and composition. He was organist at St Paul's, Battersea, from the age of 20, and in 1889 he obtained a Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists. In 1891 Taylor took up the post of organist and choirmaster at St Paul's in Dunedin. He was very successful in this role and in 1900 the Bishop spoke ‘in glowing terms’ of the music there and remarked that ‘on all his travels there was no service pleased him better, than was done in St Paul’s’. Taylor taught music privately and prepared many pupils for examinations. His own compositions included a hymn tune and a published gavotte and musette. During Taylor’s 20 years at St Paul’s the Cathedral, with the support of Dean Fitchett, became a centre of musical excellence where, besides service music, cantatas and oratorios were performed. W.E. Taylor died suddenly at his home in York Place in 1911, at the age of just 44, survived by his wife and three sons. He was described as ‘quiet, unassuming, and devoted to duty ... held in the highest affection and esteem by all who knew him’.

Cyclopedia of New Zealand (1905)
Otago Daily Times, 28 October 1911
Raymond White, Joy in the Singing (1989)

David Murray

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