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Elias Parish Alvars : Eli Parish of Teignmouth in Devon became one of Europe’s most celebrated virtuosos.
Elias Parish Alvars

Eli Parish (1808-1849) was a boy from Teignmouth in Devon who went on to become one of Europe’s most celebrated and dextrous concert harpists, and a prolific composer.

THE year 1818 was a momentous one for the ten-year-old Eli Parish.

That was the year he gave his first harp concert, in his hometown of Teignmouth, Devon; and it was also the year that his father was declared bankrupt.

Eli was denied a place at the Royal Academy of Music, but a local landowner paid for him to continue his studies in London with Nicolas-Charles Bochsa, who would have been his professor.

In 1828, Eli left for the Continent, where he adopted the stage-name Elias Parish Alvars, and performed alongside Carl Czerny, John Field, and the Lewy brothers Edouard and Joseph, whose sister Melanie he married.

In 1848, Eli was in Vienna when the city became embroiled in a wave of revolutions that robbed him of his pupils, his concerts, and his livelihood.

His health declined, and the man whom Hector Berlioz described as a ‘magician’, ‘the Liszt of the harp’, passed away on 25th January, 1849.

Andante in E-Flat Major

The gentle Andante from Elias Parish Alvars’s Harp Concerto in E-flat major, Op. 98. It is played here by by Marielle Nordmann, with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, conducted by Theodor Guschlbauer.

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