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|Year of Death:||1918|
Harry Evan Williams (7 September 1867 – 24 May 1918) was an oratorio tenor with an exceptionally beautiful and tender voice. He recorded almost one hundred 78-RPM records for the Victor Talking Machine Company in the United States and The Gramophone Company (HMV) in England. Williams gave more than 1,000 performances and recitals during his 25-year professional career in England and the United States. Williams was praised most highly by critics for his interpretations of Handel.
Evan Williams was born on 7 September 1867 in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, the son of David Williams and Gwendolyn Harris. His parents were recent poor Welsh immigrants from Pembrokeshire, Wales. They were married in 1867 in Trumbull County, Ohio. When Evan was 13 years old, his Mother died in childbirth, and he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle, Thomas and Sarah Davis in Thomastown, a Welsh immigrant mining community near Akron, Ohio.
While he was working in his youth in coal mines in the Akron area, the quality of his voice was discovered when he was singing in a local church choir. He began voice lessons with Madame Louise Von Feilitsch in Cleveland. He began rising to prominence as a singer when he participated in a Welsh choir in Galion, Ohio, in 1891. By 1894 he was performing in London and began dividing his career between appearances in the United Kingdom and in the United States. At this time in his career he was hired to be the soloist at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. He was reputed to be the highest-paid church singer in the world at the time. In 1896 he gave his first performance at the well known Worcester Music Festival in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1907 he returned to the United States for most of the rest of his performing career, where he sang as a tenor soloist for various choral societies and in concerts all over the country. His recording career with Victor Red Seal records was very successful.