William Sterndale Bennett was born in Sheffield in 1816, the son of an organist. Orphaned at a young age, he was brought up by his grandparents and sang in the choir at King’s College, Cambridge, before being enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music at the age of ten. His first symphony, published while he was a student there, attracted the attention of Felix Mendelssohn, and in 1836, with money left to him by his mother, he went to Leipzig to meet the great composer personally, and was taken on as a student. Studying assiduously, he discussed music and composition with both Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann, who was later to dedicate his Études symphoniques to Bennett.
from notes by Elizabeth French © 2007