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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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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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Frederick Corder

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Arnold, George Benjamin (1832–1902), organist and composer, born on 22 December 1832 at Petworth, Sussex, was the son of George Frederick Handel Arnold, organist of the parish church of Petworth, and his wife, Mary. He was articled to George William Chard, the organist of ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Arnold, John (1720–1792), psalmodist and composer, was baptized on 10 November 1720 in the village of Great Warley, Essex, the son of John Arnold (bap. 1689, d. 1762), yeoman farmer, and his wife, Penelope, née Brecknock (d. 1728). As a gentleman farmer he was active on the parish vestry from the age of twenty-one until a few years before his death, but he put most of his considerable energy into music. He signed the preface of his first publication, ...

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Arnold, Samuel (1740–1802), composer, was born in London on 10 August 1740, the son of Thomas Arnold; he may have been the Samuel Arnull, son of Thomas and Mary Arnull, baptized at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 21 August that year. During his time as a choirboy in the ...

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Samuel Arnold (1740–1802) by George Dance, 1795 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Attwood, Thomas (1765–1838), composer and organist, was born on 23 November 1765, probably at 20 Eaton Street, Pimlico, Middlesex. He was the second of the six children of Thomas Attwood (d. 1825), a coal merchant and musician who played trumpet, horn, and viola in the king's band, and his wife, ...

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Thomas Attwood (1765–1838) by unknown artist, c. 1815 Royal College of Music, London; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Avison, Charles (bap. 1710, d. 1770), composer and writer on music, was baptized on 16 February 1710 in Newcastle upon Tyne, the fifth of nine children of Richard and Ann Avison. His early training in music presumably began at home with his father, a town wait and also practising musician. While in the service of the ...

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Ayleward, Richard (1626–1669), composer and organist, was born at Winchester, the son of Richard Ayleward, a minor canon at the cathedral. He sang there as a chorister under Christopher Gibbons in 1638 and 1639. Nothing is known of his whereabouts during the interregnum. At the Restoration he was appointed organist and master of the choristers at ...

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Ayrton, Edmund (1734–1808), composer and musician, was born on 21 October 1734 at Ripon, Yorkshire, the third of the four surviving children of Edward Ayrton (1698–1774), alderman and later mayor and magistrate of the borough of Ripon, and his wife, Catherine (1701?–1781), daughter of ...

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J. A. F. Maitland

revised by K. D. Reynolds

Babell, William (1689/90–1723), musical arranger and harpsichordist, was the son of a bassoonist in the Drury Lane Theatre orchestra, and was taught by his father, by John Christopher Pepusch, and possibly by Handel. A proficient violinist, harpsichordist, and organist, he was active in ...

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W. B. Squire

revised by Clive Brown

Bache, Francis Edward (1833–1858), composer and organist, was born on 14 September 1833 at Birmingham, the eldest of the seven children of Samuel Bache (1804–1876), a Unitarian minister, and his wife, Emily, née Higginson (d. 1855). From a very early age he showed extraordinary talent for music, learning the piano, organ, and violin. On the last instrument, which he studied with ...

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Bacon, Thomas (1700?–1768), Church of England clergyman and musician, was probably born either in the Isle of Man or Cumberland. He had at least one brother. He is known to have been in charge of a coal depot in Dublin in 1737, the year in which he published ...

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Baldwin, John (d. 1615), music copyist and composer, is of unknown origins and parentage. According to Ernest Brennecke, Baldwin was admitted a lay clerk of St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 1575; he cites no documentary evidence in support of this claim and none exists today, though subsequent repair work on the ...

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Barnard, John (b. c. 1591), music editor and composer, was between 1618 and 1622 a lay clerk at Canterbury Cathedral, where he was also employed to teach the cathedral choristers to play the viol. When he married Marie Martin there on 7 October 1619 his age was given as 'about 28'. A son, ...

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Barnby, Sir Joseph (1838–1896), composer and conductor, was born on 12 August 1838 at Swinegate, York, the youngest child in the family of fifteen children of Thomas Barnby, a shoemaker and organist, and his wife Barbara, née Robinson. At the age of seven he became a chorister at ...

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Bateson, Thomas (d. 1630), composer and organist, first appears as the father of a son baptized in 1592; he may have been born in the Wirral, Cheshire, but the identity of both his parents and his wife is unknown. In 1599 he was appointed organist of ...