March 11, 1812
Irish composer and musician William Vincent Wallace was born in County Waterford on this day in 1812. As a child, he learned to play several instruments, excelling at both violin and piano. At eighteen, he began teaching piano at the Ursuline Convent, where he fell in love with–and eventually married–one of his students. He moved his family to Australia, and in 1836 they opened the first Australian music school in Sydney. After separating from his wife, he traveled the world, conducting Italian opera in Mexico, and helping to found the New York Philharmonic Society. Maritana, the first and most famous of Wallace’s six operas, premiered in at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in 1845.