May 23rd William Lewarne Harris (Birth)


Birkenhead – born William Lewarne Harris (1929 – 2013) was educated at The King’s School, Canterbury until the school was evacuated to St. Austell,  in the county of his mother’s birth.

After national service with the Duchy of Cornwall Light Infantry, he studied composition at the Royal College of Music under Patrick Hadley and Herbert Howells and won the Lionel Tertis Prize for his ‘Suite for Viola and Piano’ which was premiered in 1953.

He continued to compose a range of works while teaching music and the piano in several schools in Kent and frequently returning to Cornwall, becoming a Bard of the Gorsedh Kernow in 2002 in recognition of his basing his music on Cornish and Breton themes.  He took the Bardic name Pendrethan meaning ‘Head of the Sands’.

In 1973, he premiered his song-cycle ‘A Cycle of Love and Death’ at the Wigmore Hall

In Hayle in 2006, he premiered ‘Rescorla’s Variations’, a tribute to Rick Rescorla, the Hayle-born hero of the Twin Towers attack.



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