Gustav Holst
Pages 7

In spite of his reluctance as a pedagogue, Holst’s success at St. Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith led to the addition of a new music wing, where he was able to establish a soundproof room that would become the locus of his creative efforts. It was here that he composed The Planets between 1914 and 1916, a work whose popular success never ceased to dismay him. Publishers and recording companies began to pursue him. He came to be much in demand as a conductor of his own works, The Planets in particular, but his programs included a very respectable catalogue of vocal and instrumental works as well. The acclaim that his works received created in the mild-mannered composer an attitude of reticence bordering on bewilderment. He received, and consistently declined, offers of honorary degrees from universities

in Britain and abroad. Conducting was another matter. He was genuinely pleased to accept conducting engagements in the United States at The University of Michigan (1923), Yale (1924), and Harvard (1932).