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

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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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Victor Robert Barclay (1911–1987) by Terry Cryer, c. 1956 © Terry Cryer; Val Wilmer Collection

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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 ...

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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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Carl Aldric Stanley Barriteau (1914–1998) by Alan Duncan, 1942 [dedicated to George Roberts, saxophonist] photograph by Alan Duncan; Val Wilmer Collection

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Barriteau, Carl Aldric Stanley (1914–1998), clarinettist and bandleader, was born on 7 February 1914 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, the elder son and eldest of four children of Josiah Stanley Barriteau, stenographer and journalist, and his wife, May (b. c.1894). Both parents were Trinidadian. He spent his early childhood in ...

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Bates, Joah (bap. 1741, d. 1799), musician, was baptized at Halifax on 8 March 1741, the son of Henry Bates, a former woolcomber, turned innkeeper and parish clerk, and his wife, Susan Lister. He received his early education at Dr Ogden's school, and learned music from ...

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Sir Thomas Beecham, second baronet (1879–1961) by Stephen Glass © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beecham, Sir Thomas, second baronet (1879–1961), conductor, was born on 29 April 1879 in Westfield Street, St Helens, Lancashire, the elder son and second child of Sir Joseph Beecham, first baronet (1848–1916), manufacturing chemist, and his wife, Josephine Burnett, née Dickins (1850–1934). The family's prosperity began with ...

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

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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 Moses Benedict, a rich German Jewish banker. At the Stuttgart Gymnasium...

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