Baines, William
1899-1922

Gifted pianist and composer, born at Horbury, near Wakefield on 26 March 1899, the son of George William Baines, organist at the Primitive Methodist chapel and pianist at local cinemas. He showed early musical talent and had piano lessons from his father and then at the Yorkshire College of Music in Leeds. By the age of 12 he had begun to compose hymn tunes and chants and in his teens acquainted himself with the orchestral repertoire by attending perfomances of the Bradford Permanent Orchestral Society. With the family’s move to York in 1917 he became a professional musician. He was already performing a number of his own compositions. He was called up in the closing months of the war, but hospitalised almost immediately with septic poisoning. After his discharge he resumed his composing and recitals, including one in Bournemouth at the invitation of Sir Dan Godfrey, but died from tuberculosis on 6 November 1922. Among the subscribers to a memorial plaque, now in Horbury Methodist Church were the Archbishop of York and Gustav Holst.

Among his 150 compositions were a number of orchestral and chamber works and many piano pieces; also a symphony in C Minor, not premiered until 1991 at the Grassington Festival.