Ralph Vaughan Williams is recognised as one of the major musical figures of his time. He began his career as a folk song collector, music editor of The English Hymnal
(1906) and founding conductor of the Leith Hill Festival—a post he maintained for over fifty years. Vaughan William's vast musical output includes song settings, symphonies, chamber music, opera and choral music. At the heart of his creativity lie a sequence of nine symphonies that move from meditative pastoral music to themes of existential dramas.