“I believe that all the arts, and especially music, are necessary to a full life… It is necessary to know facts, but music will enable you to see past facts to the very essence of things in a way which science cannot do. The arts are the means by which we can look through the magic casements and see what lies beyond.” 

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams OM (12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer and one of the great symphonists of the 20th century.

He is also still one of our most popular composers, with his The Lark Ascending regularly topping the Classic FM ‘Hall of Fame’. RVW created important works in most major musical forms and genres, from symphonies and operas through to songs and chamber music, but also music for film and other contexts. His involvement in a range of musical organisations, and the support he provided to younger composers, made him a central figure in British musical life.

In February 1953 he married Ursula Wood (née Lock; 15 March 1911 – 23 October 2007) an English poet and author, and subsequently the biographer of her husband. Ursula, through her will, established the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust which became active in 2008 – the 50th anniversary year of the composer’s death.

Explore the composer and his works:

Catalogue of published works
Versions of VW – Ceri Owen introduces the composer
The letters of RVW
Useful links