Born: Au­gust 20, 1873, St. Al­bans, Hert­ford­shire, Eng­land.

Died: Ap­ril 13, 1946, Gor­dons Bay (near So­mer­set West), South Af­ri­ca.



Bell stu­died in Lon­don at the Roy­al Ac­ad­emy of Mu­sic (RAM) with Fred­er­ick Cor­der, and with Charles V. Stan­ford at the Roy­al Col­lege of Mu­sic.

He main­ly made his liv­ing as an or­gan­ist and lec­tur­er, but was al­so Pro­fes­sor of Har­mo­ny at the RAM, where he taught 1903–12. Bell com­posed two tunes for The Eng­lish Hym­nal of 1906.

In 1912, Bell moved to South Af­ri­ca to direct the South Af­ri­can Col­lege of Mu­sic in Cape Town. He was Prin­ci­pal there un­til 1935, and is cre­dit­ed with a sig­nif­i­cant ex­pan­sion of the school.

In 1920, he be­came Pro­fess­or of Mu­sic at the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Cape Town, where he held class­es for de­gree cours­es.

The South Af­ri­can Col­lege of Mu­sic was in­cor­po­rat­ed in­to the Un­i­ver­si­ty in 1923, and Bell became Dean of the Fa­cul­ty of Mu­sic.

Bell also found­ed the Lit­tle The­at­er, an op­e­ra train­ing cen­ter, and oc­ca­sion­al­ly di­rect­ed the Cape Town Mu­sic So­ci­e­ty.

The W. H. Bell Mu­sic Lib­ra­ry at the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Cape Town, which op­ened in Au­gust 1943, is named for him.


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