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Abraham, Gerald Ernest Heal (1904–1988), musicologist, was born on 9 March 1904 in Newport, Isle of Wight, the only child of Ernest Abraham, manufacturer, and his wife, Dorothy Mary Heal, a jeweller's daughter. In spite of his strong musical interests, he planned a naval career, attending a naval crammer in ...

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Abrahams, Doris Caroline [pseud. Caryl Brahms] (1901–1982), writer and songwriter, was born at 28 Morland Road, Croydon, Surrey, on 8 December 1901, the only child of Henry Clarence Abrahams, a wholesale jeweller, and his wife, Pearl, one of the twenty-one children of ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Abrams, Harriett (c. 1758–1821), singer and composer, was, according to her niece's husband, Thomas Adolphus Trollope, the daughter of a man who came to England 'in the suite of some Hanoverian minister, in what capacity I never heard' (Trollope, 151). She was described by ...

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See Abrams, Harriett

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Adler, Lawrence Cecil [Larry] (1914–2001), harmonica player and composer, was born on 10 February 1914 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, the son of Louis Adler, plumber, and his wife, Sadie Hack. His family were of Russian descent and changed their name from Zelakovitch to ...

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Lawrence Cecil Adler (1914–2001) by Ida Kar, 1950s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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R. H. Legge

revised by David J. Golby

Alvars, Elias Parish- (1808–1849), harpist and composer, was born on 28 February 1808 at Teignmouth, where his father was an organist. His earliest teachers on the harp were N. C. Bochsa (from 1820) and subsequently F. J. Dizi and Théodore Labarre in Paris...

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Arden, Don [real name Harry Levy] (1926–2007), rock music manager and promoter, was born on 4 January 1926 at 123 Crescent Road, Crumpsall, Manchester, the son of Lazarus Levy, a machinist in a factory making waterproof garments, and his wife, Sarah (Sally), ...

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Don Arden (1926–2007) by unknown photographer, 1968 Evening News / Rex Features

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Bacharach, Alfred Louis (1891–1966), food scientist and musician, was born in Hampstead, London, on 11 August 1891, the son of Otto Leonhard Bacharach, a stockbroker, of Hampstead, and his wife, Alice Eva Wagner. He lived throughout his life in Hampstead. Bacharach was educated at ...

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John Barnett (1802–1890) by Charles Baugniet, 1845 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barnett, John (1802–1890), composer, born at Bedford on 15 July 1802 (some sources say 1 July), was the eldest son of a German Jewish diamond merchant, Bernhard Beer, and a Hungarian mother, who died during his early childhood. His father adopted the surname ...

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Bart [formerly Begleiter], Lionel (1930–1999), song-writer and composer of musicals, was born on 1 August 1930 at 24 Underwood Road in the East End of London to a Jewish family, the youngest of the eleven children of Morris Begleiter, a master tailor, and his wife, ...

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Bassano, Alvise (d. 1554), musician and instrument maker, was presumably born in Bassano, near Venice, in the late fifteenth century, the second son of Maestro Jeronimo (d. 1539?), known as Piva (‘bagpipe’). By 1515 he was playing in Venice, and he served in ...

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Benedict, Sir Julius (1804–1885), conductor and composer, was born at Stuttgart, Germany, on 27 November 1804 (in some nineteenth-century reference works the date was given incorrectly as 24 December 1804), the son of a rich German Jewish banker. At the Stuttgart Gymnasium he received a thorough general education and showed exceptional ability in all his studies. His musical talents were fostered by ...

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Sir Julius Benedict (1804–1885) by Lock & Whitfield, pubd 1881 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Stanley Black (1913–2002) by unknown photographer, 1958 © Empics

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Black, Stanley (1913–2002), bandleader, pianist, and composer, was born in the London Hospital, Whitechapel, London, on 14 June 1913, the son of Lewis Schwartz, shoe dealer, and his wife, Sophia, formerly Diamond. He began taking piano lessons at the age of seven, and went on to study at the ...

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Harry Blech (1909–1999) by Elliott & Fry, 1958 © National Portrait Gallery, London