1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cellier, Alfred

CELLIER, ALFRED (1844–1891), English musical composer, was born at Hackney on the 1st of December 1844. From 1855 to 1860 he was a chorister at the Chapel Royal, St James’s, under the Rev. Thomas Helmore, where Arthur Sullivan was one of his youthful colleagues. His first appointment was that of organist at All Saints’ church, Blackheath (1862). In 1866 he succeeded Dr Chipp as director of the Ulster Hall concerts, Belfast, at the same time acting as conductor of the Belfast Philharmonic Society. In 1868 he returned to London as organist of St Alban’s, Holborn. From 1871 to 1875 he was conductor at the Prince’s theatre, Manchester; and from 1877 to 1879 at various London theatres. During this period he composed many comic operas and operettas, of which the most successful was The Sultan of Mocha, which was produced at Manchester in 1874, in London at the St James’s theatre in 1876, and revived at the Strand theatre in 1887. In 1880 Cellier visited America, producing a musical version of Longfellow’s Masque of Pandora at Boston (1881). In 1883 his setting of Gray’s Elegy in the form of a cantata was produced at the Leeds Festival. In 1886 he won the great success of his life in Dorothy, a comic opera written to a libretto by B. C. Stephenson, which was produced at the Gaiety theatre on the 25th of September 1886, and, transferred first to the Prince of Wales theatre and subsequently to the Lyric theatre, ran until April 1889. Doris (1889), and The Mountebanks, which was produced in January 1892, a few days after the composer’s death, were less successful. Cellier owed much to the influence of Sir Arthur Sullivan. He had little of the latter’s humour and vivacity, but he was a fertile melodist, and his writing is invariably distinguished by elegance and refinement. He died in London on the 28th of December 1891.