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Allen, Sir Hugh Percy (1869–1946), musicologist and conductor, was born at Reading on 23 December 1869, the youngest of the seven children of John Herbert Allen, who was in business with Huntley and Palmers of Reading. His mother, Rebecca, was the daughter of ...

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Ambrose, Benjamin Baruch [Bert] (1896–1971), bandleader and violinist, was born in Warsaw, Poland, in the Russian empire, on 11 September 1896, the son of Lewis Ambrose (1869/70–1962), a dealer in rags in the East End of London, and his wife, Becky or Rebecca (1870/71–1945)...

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Arditi, Luigi (1822–1903), conductor and composer, was born on 16 July 1822 in Crescentino, Piedmont, the son of Maurizio Arditi and his wife, Caterina Colombo. He studied the violin with Carossini and Capitani in his home town, with Caldera in Turin, and with ...

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Ashley, John (c. 1734–1805), conductor and bassoonist, was probably born in London, although it is impossible to place or date this with certainty. Little is known of Ashley's musical training and his earlier professional years. He was a bassoon player of considerable ability and may have held an appointment in a wind band of the militia, for ...

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Aston, Hugh (d. 1558), composer and choirmaster, is of obscure origins. He became one of the foremost church musicians of his generation, the peer of John Taverner, and yet biographers have sometimes confused him with namesakes. He is not Hugh Aston, canon of ...

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Atkins, Sir Ivor Algernon (1869–1953), organist and choirmaster, was born on 29 November 1869 at Llandaff, near Cardiff, the sixth child and third son of Frederick Pyke Atkins (1830–1897), organist of St John's parish church in Cardiff, and his wife, Harriet Maria, née...

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Bainton, Edgar Leslie (1880–1956), composer and conductor, was born on 14 February 1880 at 2 Florence Villas, De Beauvoir Square, Hackney, London, the second son among the three children of the Revd George Bainton, a Congregational minister, and his wife, Mary Cave, both Londoners by birth. They moved to ...

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Barbirolli, Sir John [formerly Giovanni Battista] (1899–1970), conductor and cellist, was born Giovanni Battista at 12 Southampton Row, London, on 2 December 1899, the elder son and second of the three children of an émigré Italian violinist, Lorenzo Barbirolli (1864–1928), and his Parisian wife, ...

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Sir John Barbirolli (1899–1970) by Georges Maiteny © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barclay, Victor Robert [Bob] (1911–1987), musician and bandleader, was born at 45 Wellington Street, Greenock, Renfrewshire, on 10 July 1911, the elder son and eldest of three children of William Bartholomew Barclay, labourer and coalminer, and his wife, Janet Adamson, née Chrystal, factory worker. His father was of ...