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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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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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(Louis) Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) by Pierre Petit, 1863 Getty Images

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Berlioz, (Louis) Hector (1803–1869), composer and conductor, was born on 11 December 1803 in La Côte St André, in the département of Isère, France, the first of four children of Dr Louis-Joseph Berlioz and his wife, Marie-Antoinette-Joséphine, commonly known as Joséphine, the daughter of ...

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Sir Michael Andrew Angus Costa (1808–1884) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Costa, Sir Michael Andrew Angus [formerly Michele Andrea Agniello] (1808–1884), conductor and composer, was born in Naples on 4 February 1808, the son of Pasquale Costa. He studied with his father, his maternal grandfather Giacomo Tritto, and Giovanni Furno, then at the ...

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Antonín Leopold Dvořák (1841–1904) by unknown photographer, c. 1890 Getty Images

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Dvořák, Antonín Leopold (1841–1904), composer and conductor, was born on 8 September 1841 in Nelahozeves, to the north of Prague, the eldest of nine children of František Dvořák (1814–1894), musician, butcher, and innkeeper, and his wife, Anna Zdeňková (1820–1882). Recognition of his early musical talent led to his being sent at the age of twelve to ...

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Sir Edward William Elgar, baronet (1857–1934) by Charles Frederick Grindrod, c. 1903 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Elgar, Sir Edward William, baronet (1857–1934), composer and conductor, was born on 2 June 1857 at The Firs, Broadheath, Worcestershire, the fourth of the seven children of William Henry Elgar (1821–1906), an organist and tradesman, and his wife, Ann (1821/2–1902), the daughter of ...

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Goossens, Sir Eugene Aynsley (1893–1962), composer and conductor, was born in Rochester Square, Camden Town, London, on 26 May 1893, the son of Eugène Goossens (1867–1958), a violinist, and his wife, Annie Cook (1860–1946), an opera singer. The family came originally from Bruges...

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Sir Eugene Aynsley Goossens (1893–1962) by Herbert Lambert, pubd 1923 © Jenny Letton, administered by Composer Prints Ltd.; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sir Charles Hallé (1819–1895) by George Frederic Watts, c. 1870 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hallé, Sir Charles [formerly Carl Halle] (1819–1895), conductor and pianist, was born on 11 April 1819 in Hagen, Westphalia. He was the son of a church organist and concert director, Friedrich Halle, and his wife, Caroline Branschedt. He had his first piano lessons at the age of three and soon showed extraordinary talent, giving a public performance when he was four of a sonatina composed by his father. When he was eleven he deputized for his father and conducted all the operas (at least ten) during the annual visit of a touring company. They included ...

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J. A. F. Maitland

revised by Clive Brown

Hatton, John Liptrot (1809–1886), composer and conductor, born in Concert Street, Liverpool, on 12 October 1809, was the son and grandson of professional violinists. With the exception of some musical tuition received at the academy of a Mr Molyneux, he was virtually self-taught; yet by the time he was sixteen years old he was already organist at ...

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Jullien [Julien], Louis (1812–1860), conductor and composer, was born at Sisteron, France, on 23 April 1812, the son of a military bandsman. Although he later publicized a fanciful account of his childhood (Musical World, 1853), he seems to have been brought up in barracks and trained by his father to play piccolo in the band; he also studied the violin. In 1833 he entered the ...

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Mathieson, (James) Muir (1911–1975), director and conductor of film music, was born on 24 January 1911 at 1 Druid's Street, Stirling, the eldest of the two sons of John George Mathieson (1880–1955), artist and engraver, and his wife Jessie (Jen) Wordie Davie (1884–1954)...

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(James) Muir Mathieson (1911–1975) by Baron, 1942 Getty Images – Baron

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Panufnik, Sir Andrzej (1914–1991), composer and conductor, was born on 24 September 1914 in Warsaw, the younger son of Tomasz Aleksander Panufnik (1865–1953), who had trained as an engineer but who became Poland's finest stringed instrument maker, and his wife, Matylda Maria Thonnes (1883–1945)...