Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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WALLACE, William Vincent, musician, born in Waterford, Ireland, 1 June. 1814; died in Haute Garonne, France, 12 October, 1865. Under the tuition of his father he early wrote pieces for the bands and orchestras of his native place. When eighteen years of age, for the purpose of recovering his health by a voyage, he sailed for Sydney. Australia, remaining during several years and leading a life of adventure. From Australia he went to New Zealand, made a whaling-voyage in the South seas, and finally landed in the East Indies. He visited most of the interior provinces of Hindostan and spent some time in tiger-hunting. From Hindost an, Wallace sailed for Chili, and in turn visited Peru and Buenos Ayres, giving concerts in the large cities of those countries. This musical progress was gradually extended to Mexico and the West, Indies. His earliest appearance in the United States as a virtuoso was in New Orleans. Thence he travelled through the Union for several years, giving entertainments in the large cities. Later Wallace went to England, turning his attention to the composition of operas. In London he produced in succession " Maritana" and " Matilda of Hungary." The first named readily found its way to the chief opera-houses of the European continent. Later the composer brought out "Lurline," "The Maid of Zurich," "The A tuber Witch," " Love's Triumph," and " The Desert Flower." After a short stay in Paris, for the restoration of his health, he again crossed the Atlantic, landing at Rio Janeiro. Thence he sailed for New Orleans, whence he continued a prolonged concert tour in the principal cities of the Union. As a performer on the violin and piano-forte Wallace was more than respectable, and free from sensationalism. His compositions for the piano-forte are melodious and effective. As an opera-composer he was deficient in the science of instrumentation, but he well understood how to write for the voice, and many of his melodies combine fluency and grace with the charms of originality. This is particularly the ease with his first two lyric dramas. His earliest works continue to hold the stage.
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