EVANS , (Henry) Harry  [1873-1914]

Harry Evans was born in Merthyr Tydfil on 1st My 1873, the fifth of ten children. His father John was a manual worker in the local ironworks who was a self-taught musician and conductor, heavily involved with local choral music. He passed on his learning to his children, in Harry's to such good effect that by the age of 10 he had been appointed organist at the local chapel. He was in fact too small to reach the pedals and another boy had to stand behind him to operate a blowing apparatus. The chapel's congregation recognised his exceptional talent, organising a concert to fund the purchase of a piano for the family.

Pursuing a career on music Harry Evans gained increasingly important conducting roles, gaining admiration across the country. In 1899 he took a 60-strong make voice choir to the eisteddfod at Liverpool, saving Welsh blushes by a triumph on the final day after all the other prizes had gone to English choirs. In 1902 he accepted an appointment as conductor of the Liverpool Welsh Choral Union. With a Welsh population in the city of some 100,000 he soon built up the membership to 300. For some years he travelled up to the city from Merthyr but in 1906 decided to settle in Liverpool, the family's new home being at 26 Princes Avenue L8.  Additional appointments came his way, as conductor of the Liverpool University Choral Society, and as choral conductor for the Liverpool Philharmonic. Now recognised as outstanding in his field (Sir Edward Elgar publicly referring to him as "a great conductor") he was also the composer of a number of works.

In 1914 he had accepted the role of conductor of the North Staffordshire Choral Society. Sadly, before he could take up post, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died aged 41 at his home on 23rd July 1914. He was buried at Smithdown Road (Toxteth Park) Cemetery.
His son, Horace (later Baron Evans) became an outstanding physician.

26 Princes Avenue L8

The Evans family home in Liverpool


There is an extensive biography of Harry Evans at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The Wikipedia entry is very basic.