Walter Parratt

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Walter Parratt
Sir Walter Parratt.png
14th Master of the King's Musick
Master of the Queen's Musick (1893–1901)
In office
1 June 1893 – 27 March 1924
Edward VII
George V
Preceded byWilliam Cusins
Succeeded byEdward Elgar
Personal details
Walter Parratt

10 February 1841
Huddersfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died27 March 1924 (aged 83)
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford

Sir Walter Parratt KCVO (10 February 1841 – 27 March 1924) was an English organist and composer.[1]


Born in Huddersfield, son of a parish organist, Parratt began to play the pipe organ from an early age, and held posts as an organist while still a child. He was a child prodigy: on one occasion he played Bach's complete The Well-Tempered Clavier by heart, without notice, at age ten.[2]

From 1854 to 1861 he was an organist at St Paul's Church in his native town and, as successor to John Stainer, in 1872 at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he remained for ten years. From 1882 he held the post of organist of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. He became Heather Professor of Music at Oxford University in 1908, taking over from Hubert Parry.

He became one of the foremost organ teachers of his day, with many important posts in Britain being filled by his students. He was president of the Royal College of Organists.

Parratt was also a distinguished chess player, and was able to simultaneously play chess and a complex organ piece—at first sight.[3] He served for a few months as president of the Oxford University Chess Club and for two years was captain of the eight chosen to play against Cambridge.[4]


He was knighted in 1892. In 1893 he was appointed Master of the Queen's Musick to Queen Victoria, and afterward held the same office under Kings Edward VII[5] and George V.

Later honours included: Member (MVO, 1901), Commander (CVO, 1917), and Knight Commander (KCVO, 1921) of the Royal Victorian Order.

After Parratt's death in 1924 a monument to him was erected in the grounds of Huddersfield Parish Church. There is also a monument to him in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, next to the entrance to King George VI Memorial Chapel where King George VI and the Queen Mother are buried.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Obituary: WALTER PARRATT". Musical Times. 65: 401–403. 1 May 1924. JSTOR 913981.
  2. ^ Grove's Dictionary, 5th edition, 1954, Vol. 6, p. 559
  3. ^ Pearson, Arthur (June 1903). "Famous Yorkshire Musicians". The Non-Conformist Musical Journal. 186: 73, 88–90. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  4. ^ "PARRATT, Sir Walter". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 1359.
  5. ^ "No. 27363". The London Gazette. 8 October 1901. p. 6569.


External links[edit]

Court offices
Preceded by Master of the Queen's (later King's) Musick
Succeeded by