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Russell (Originally Levy), Henry

RUSSELL (originally Levy), HENRY (1813–1900), English composer and singer. Born at Sheerness, Russell was a prodigy who performed as a child before King George IV. He studied music at Bologna and in his thirties spent many years touring the U.S. and Canada. After his return to England, he was chorus master at Her Majesty's Theatre, London. Russell wrote nearly 800 songs; among the most successful are "There's a Good Time Coming Boys" and "Cheer! Boys, Cheer!" His "A Life on the Ocean Wave" became the regimental march of the Royal Marines.

By his first wife, who was not Jewish, Henry Russell had two sons: William Clark Russell (1844–1911), novelist and biographer, and Henry Russell (1871–1937), manager of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and founder and first manager of the Boston Opera House in the U.S.

His son by his second wife, a Jewess, was SIR LANDON RONALD (1873–1938), British orchestral conductor. Born in London, Ronald conducted opera at Covent Garden in 1894, accompanied the singer Melba on her American tour, and appeared before Queen Victoria in 1897 and 1898. After a period of conducting in musical comedy, he became known in the cities of Britain and the Continent principally as a symphony conductor. Ronald specialized in the interpretation of Elgar, composed songs and incidental music for the theater, and was principal of the Guildhall School of Music, London, 1910–37. He was knighted in 1922.


P.H. Emden, Jews of Britain (1944), 507–10; A. Barnett, Western Synagogue through Two Centuries, 1761–1961 (1961), 118f., 150, 219; Grove, Dict; Baker, Biog Dict.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.