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May 13, 1842

The composer Arthur Sullivan was born in London to an Irish Italian mother, Mary Coughan and Irish-born father, Thomas Sullivan. Sullivan composed his first anthem at age 8. At age 14, he was awarded a scholarship to the London Academy of Music. Sullivan began a collaboration with W.S. Gilbert to create the comic opera “Thespis.” He would work with Giblert on fourteen light operas in all, including The Pirates of Penzance and the Mikado. Sullivan’s “Irish Symphony” was first performed in March 1866. He wrote it on holiday in Ireland: “As I was jolting home through wind and rain… in an open jaunting-car, the whole first movement of a symphony came into my head with a real Irish flavor about it – besides scraps of the other movements.”

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