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Karl Friedrich Abel (1723–1787) by Thomas Gainsborough, exh. RA 1777 The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA, USA

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Abel, Karl Friedrich (1723–1787), composer and concert impresario, was born on 22 December 1723 in Cöthen, Saxony, one of six children. His father, Christian Ferdinand Abel (c.1683–1737), served as violinist for Johann Sebastian Bach, under whom Karl Friedrich may have studied at the ...

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W. B. Squire

revised by Nicholas Salwey

Abell, John (b. 1653, d. in or after 1716), singer and composer, was born in Aberdeenshire and was admitted as a 'gentleman of his majesty's chapel extraordinary' on 1 May 1679, about which time he is listed among the musicians of the king's private music, as singer, lutenist, and violinist. ...

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Addinsell, Richard Stewart (1904–1977), composer and pianist, was born at 31 Woburn Square, London, on 13 January 1904, the younger of the two sons of William Arthur Addinsell, chartered accountant, and his wife, Annie Beatrice Richards. His adoring mother arranged for him to be educated at home, and this seemingly made him allergic to institutions thereafter. He went to ...

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W. B. Squire

revised by David J. Golby

Addison, John (c. 1766–1844), double bass player and composer, was born in London, the son of a village mechanic. As a child he showed considerable musical ability, learning to play a variety of instruments, including the flageolet, flute, bassoon, and violin. He was also self-taught in composition, and his early works include a set of ...

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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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Adson, John (bap. 1587?, d. 1640), musician and composer, may have been the Johannes Adson baptized at Watford, Northamptonshire, on 24 January 1587. Nothing else is known of his origins. By 1604, well before the usual age to finish an apprenticeship (which was about twenty-four), he was employed as a cornetto player at the court of ...

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Alcock, John (1715–1806), organist and composer, was born at the family home, Crane Court, St Peter's Hill, London, on 11 April 1715, the third of the eight children of Daniel Alcock (bap. 1686) and his wife, Mary. They lived only a stone's throw from ...

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See Alcock, John

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Aleyn, John [J. Alanus] (d. 1373), composer, probably came from Pattishall, Northamptonshire. He is first recorded on 29 April 1361 in possession of a chantry in the church of St James Garlickhythe, London. By Michaelmas 1362 he was a clerk and chaplain in the household chapel of ...

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See Allon, Henry

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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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Alwyn, William (1905–1985), composer, was born William Alwyn Smith on 7 November 1905 at 54 Kettering Road, Northampton, the son of William James Smith and his wife, Ada Tyler Tompkins. Northampton was also the birthplace of the composers Edmund Rubbra and Malcolm Arnold...

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Amner, John (d. 1641), composer and organist, came from a family which was intimately associated with the music at Ely Cathedral for over half a century. Michael Amner, his uncle, was a lay clerk at the cathedral (1576–88), as was also Ralph Amner...

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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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See Arne family

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Thomas Augustine Arne (1710–1778) by William Humphrey, pubd 1778 (after Robert Dunkarton, c. 1770) © Copyright The British Museum

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Arne, Thomas Augustine (1710–1778), composer and musical performer, was born in King Street, Covent Garden, London, on 12 March 1710, the son of Thomas Arne (bap. 1682, d. 1736) [see under Arne family], upholsterer and undertaker, and his second wife, Anne, ...

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Richard Anthony Sayer Arnell (1917–2009) by Charlotte ‘Arlie’ Arnell, c.1938 © by kind permission of Jessie M. Page