The Delius Society is a flourishing organisation whose aim is to bring together those interested in Frederick Delius and his music. Whilst the membership list includes leading Delius scholars and performers, the majority of members are not professional or even practising musicians and they join purely because of their curiosity in, or love for, the unique music of Delius. The Society’s aims are:
- to develop a greater knowledge of the life and works of Delius and, as appropriate, those of his contemporaries;
- to promote and encourage performances, broadcasts and recordings of music by Delius;
- to encourage the study of Delius’s life and works;
- to organise musical functions for members of the Society and the general public.
The Society is independent from, but works closely with, the Delius Trust. Members of the Trust are active in the Society and their wide knowledge is a great asset.
Founded in 1962, the Society has more than 250 members worldwide.
The Society’s first President was Dr. Eric Fenby, whose work as the amanuensis of Delius has become a legend in the history of music. Felix Aprahamian, the distinguished music critic, succeeded him from 1997 until 2005. Dr. Lionel Carley (the Archivist of the Delius Trust) is our current President.
The Journal appears every six months, and past issues are available online. It covers many aspects of Delius’s life and work, with articles written by renowned experts; it also includes reports of Society meetings and reviews of concerts, CDs and books.
The Society holds meetings regularly throughout the year, at a central location. Illustrated talks are given on a wide variety of Delius-related topics, and details can be found on the Events page. The atmosphere at the Society’s events is genuinely friendly and new or prospective members are always made very welcome.
The Annual General Meeting is often arranged as part of a ‘Delius Day or Weekend’ with recitals, talks and films. Whenever possible it is timed to coincide with a public performance of a major work by Delius. This has been a successful formula in London, Cambridge, Scarborough, Bradford, Birmingham, Cheltenham and Gloucester. The Society has made a number of trips to Delius’s house and garden at Grez-sur-Loing, near Fontainebleau in France, where he and his wife Jelka lived for the last 36 years of his life and where he wrote much of his finest music. This is the garden invoked by In a Summer Garden and at its end flows the River Loing which inspired Summer Night on the River.
With the aim of encouraging young musicians to investigate the music of Delius, the Society organises an annual
Delius Prize competition at a musical academy, with prize money of £1,000 for the winner and £500 for the runner-up.
In 2004 the Society published a pictorial record of the six years during which Eric Fenby acted as Delius’s amanuensis, with rare photographs of most of the visitors to Delius’s house at Grez-sur-Loing and the village.
The 150th anniversary of Delius’s birth in Bradford was celebrated in 2012, and with the Society’s encouragement, many performances of Delius’s music were staged, including seven works at the BBC Proms.
The Society is managed by a Committee (whose details are on the Contact Society page) and is registered as a charity with The Charity Commissioners under Number 2398662.
The President and Vice Presidents of the Society are:
Sir Andrew Davis
Sir Mark Elder
Julian Lloyd Webber