Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Balfe, Michael William, born near Wexford, Ireland, in 1808, took to music from his childhood, and in 1816 appeared as a violinist, being engaged a little later in the Drury Lane orchestra. He had at the age of ten composed a ballad, and he now studied composition seriously under Horn, the organist of St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Count Mazzara took him to Rome, where he worked under Frederici and Galli. He came to London to take part in the Benedict concerts, and then the bent of his genius asserted itself. Between 1835 and 1840 he gave to the world some half a dozen popular English operas. In 1844 he supplied Bunn at Drury Lane with The Bohemian Girl, recognised not merely in this country but throughout the world as his masterpiece. Having amassed a competency, he spent his last years on his property in Hertfordshire, dying of bronchitis in 1870. Balfe possessed extraordinary facility, keen sense of melody, and a thorough practical knowledge of the requirements of stage and orchestra, but he lacked the highest originality and the power of elaboration necessary for permanent fame as a composer.