Maurice Jacobson was regarded in his lifetime as a "musician extraordinary", gifted with such exceptional versatility that formal classifications were quite inadequate to convey the wide-ranging nature of his career. Among his manifold activities, he was a composer, pianist, conductor, music publisher, editor, broadcaster, lecturer, and doyen of British music festival adjudicators. Jacobson, who was awarded the OBE in 1971 for services to music, began his professional career as a solo pianist early in life - he was, in fact, a child prodigy, having started serious lessons in both the violin and the piano at the age of seven. At 16, he won a piano scholarship at the Modern School of Music, London, which enabled him to receive lessons from Busoni. By that time, he could play all Beethoven’s sonatas and all of Bach’s 48 Preludes and Fugues from memory, a feat which many eminent professional musicians would envy. In 1916, he gained an open scholarship at the Royal College of Music, where, with a four-year break for military service in World War I, he studied composition under Stanford and Holst and conducting under Sir Adrian Boult, until 1922. In 1923 Maurice Jacobson joined the music publishing firm of J. Curwen & Sons as a music reader. In 1933 he was made its director and later its chairman from 1950 to 1972. Maurice Jacobson’s compositions number around 450 including a ballet, David; also the cantatas The Lady of Shalott (1940) and The Hound of Heaven (1953) together with many short instrumental pieces, chamber music, and songs.
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