BROWN, JAMES CONWAY (1838 - 1908), musician

Name: James Conway Brown
Date of birth: 1838
Date of death: 1908
Parent: James Brown
Gender: Male
Occupation: musician
Area of activity: Eisteddfod; Music; Performing Arts
Author: William Llewelyn Davies

Born 27 December 1838 at Blaina, Monmouth, son of James Brown, then one of the proprietors of the Blaina iron-works, and afterwards, 1853, 1860, and 1861, mayor of Newport, Monmouth. His paternal grandfather, Richard Brown, was connected with Richard Trevithick in the construction of one of the earliest locomotives at Merthyr Tydfil; his maternal grandfather was James Conway, of Pont-rhyd-yr-ynn iron-works, Mon.

After attending the Camberwell Collegiate School and King's College, London, he went to the Ebbw Vale iron-works to learn the business of an iron-master under his uncle, Thomas Brown, managing director of those works. He, however, paid more attention to music, taking part in concerts as violinist or pianist; he also played the organ in various places of worship. After becoming an officer in the Monmouthshire Rifle Volunteers he often played in the band of the seventh battalion. In 1861 he went to the Millwall iron-works, London, where he soon formed a brass band.

He decided to abandon a business career for that of music, and in 1869 was appointed organist of Aldershot parish church. He won prizes at various eisteddfodau, for example, Carmarthen and Ruthin, for anthems, songs, and part-songs. He became organist of Hale church, near Farnham, in 1875, and of the parish church, Farnham, in 1879. Later he published a sonata in E major for violin and pianoforte for which he had been awarded the Sir Michael Costa prize at Trinity College of Music, London. In 1886 he was awarded the national eisteddfod prize for an anthem. He also conducted several choral and orchestral societies. He died 26 April 1908.


Published date: 1959

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