Bainton was educated at the Royal College of Music. He was a professor of music at the Newcastle upon Tyne Conservatoire and director of the New South Wales State Conservatorium. During World War I he was interned at Ruhleben. He won the Carnegie Award in 1917 for his symphony =Before Sunrise=. Bainton composed with late-Romantic harmonies and his works are lyrical with a pastoral tone.
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