Frederick Delius House
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The father of composer Frederick Delius purchased this home in the mid-1880s after seeing it advertised in an English newspaper. Mr. Delius, of Bradford, England, was a wealthy transplanted German wool merchant who was determined his son would not be a musician, and to that end, he sent his son Frederick to run a citrus plantation in Florida. The father's plan came to no avail, however, when young Delius' met the entertainers from New York that wintered in Jacksonville. Jacksonville had a lively arts scene and Delius encountered African-American music here as well. He was the first European composer to incorporate the rhythms of African-American music in his compositions. On a trip to Jacksonville Delius met Mr. Tom Ward, the organist for the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, who immediately recognized his musical genius and gave Delius music lessons. It was at Solano Grove in St. Johns County that Delius came to realize he would spend the remainder of his life as a composer. His first published composition, Zum Carnival, was published in Jacksonville. There only two known copies remaining: one in the Library of Congress and one at the Jacksonville Public Library. His first major work, Florida Suite, paints an impressionistic picture in music of the St. Johns River at four different times of day.
The Delius House and the portion of the property on which it sat was purchased by Mrs. Martha Bullard Richmond and given to Jacksonville University. It arrived on campus on March 3, 1961, and was moved to its present location during the 1990s. The annual Delius Festival, in its 44th year, involves the university and national and international lovers of Delius' music. The structure is in urgent need of repair and renovation.
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