Walter Leigh was born in Wimbledon. His first teacher was Harold Darke, with whom he worked from the age of eight until he was seventeen. He went to Christ's College, Cambridge, studying composition with Cyril Rootham and then studied under Paul Hindemith at the Berlin Hochschule fur Musik. In 1930, Leigh declined a teaching job and set about earning a living by accepting small commissions and becoming increasingly involved with the theatre. He wrote a pantomime for the Festival Theatre at Cambridge, and two comic operas, the second of which, "Jolly Roger", ran for six months at the Savoy Theatre in London. He composed the concert overture "Agincourt", commissioned by the BBC in celebration of King George V's Silver Jubilee. His best-known work the "Harpsichord Concertino" is one of a number of chamber works of the period. In 1941, during the Second World War, he joined the British Army and served as a trooper with the Royal Armoured Corps, 4th Queen's Own Hussars. He was killed in action near Tobruk, Libya in 1942, just before his 37th birthday.
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