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 Constant Lambert

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Constant Lambert

  • Birth 23 Aug 1905 London, City of London, Greater London, England
  • Death 21 Aug 1951 London, City of London, Greater London, England
  • Burial West Brompton, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England
  • Memorial ID 8934637

Composer, Conductor, Critic. The son of painter George Lambert, he was born in London and studied at the Royal College of Music. At age 20 he became the youngest composer to receive a commission from Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, for the ballet "Romeo and Juliet" (1926), but he so disliked its flippantly chic presentation he threatened to withdraw the score. Ever the publicist, Diaghilev took the disagreement to the press, adding that the impudent young Englishman had "gone mad". Lambert was catapulted into fame with his jazz-influenced cantata "The Rio Grande" (1927), set to a poem by Sacheverell Sitwell; it was first heard over the BBC in 1928 and premiered in concert the following year. He conducted two recordings of it, in 1930 and 1949. His other compositions include a Piano Concerto (1931), the cantata "Summer's Last Will and Testament" (1937), and the ballet "Horoscope" (1938). The latter allegedly reflected his long affair with dancer Margot Fonteyn. In 1931 Lambert co-founded the Vic-Wells Ballet, now England's Royal Ballet, and was its Artistic Director and principal conductor until 1947. His book "Music Ho!" (1934) remains one of the wittiest volumes of music criticism in the English language. Composer William Walton was a lifelong friend, and when he had difficulty completing his First Symphony (1935) he accepted Lambert's suggestion of writing a fugal finale. Lambert died of pneumonia and undiagnosed diabetes complicated by acute alcoholism, two days short of his 46th birthday. His son, rock music producer Kit Lambert (The Who), is buried with him at Brompton Cemetery. In November 2009, a memorial stone for the founders of the Royal Ballet (Lambert, Fonteyn, Ninette de Valois, Frederick Ashton) was dedicated at Westminster Abbey.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 14 Jun 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8934637
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Constant Lambert (23 Aug 1905–21 Aug 1951), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8934637, citing Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .