Coates, Eric

Composer

b Hucknall, Notts 1886, d Chichester, Sussex 1957. RAM from 1906; a viola player (and violinist) who became one of the finest composers of songs, light orchestral and film music of the mid-20th c, and an internationally known conductor. From 1912 to 1919 he was principal viola player in the Queen’s Hall Orchestra, but severe neuritis, an inflammation of the nerves of his hands, ended his playing career. After some hiatus in his middle years, his latter ones saw a resurgence of his creative work, conducting, broadcasting and recording, notably with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Summer Festivals of Light Music. He wrote the last of some 160 songs, The Scent of Lilacs, in 1954. Of his many marches, Knightsbridge became a nationally known radio signature tune (for ‘In Town Tonight’) while Dambusters remained his most celebrated work; this received an Ivor Novello light orchestral music award in 1954, and in being chosen by Sir Adrian Boult for his 80th birthday concert in 1969 ‘received the accolade of respectability posthumously’—G Self. For Grove, his music ‘reflected and defined the 1920s and 30s’. No.46B.

Tunes and arrangements by Coates, Eric

Tune Name
Dambusters March