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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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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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Alexander [née Humphreys], Cecil Frances [Fanny] (1818–1895), hymn writer and poet, was born at 25 Eccles Street, Dublin. She was the second daughter of John Humphreys, a second lieutenant in the Royal Marines and later brigade major in the Tyrone yeomanry, and his wife, ...

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Arkwright, Sir John Stanhope (1872–1954), politician and hymn writer, was born at 11 Lowndes Street, London, on 10 July 1872, the only son (there were three daughters) of John Hungerford Arkwright (1833–1905), landowner and lord lieutenant of Herefordshire, of Hampton Court, Leominster, Herefordshire...

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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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Arnell, Richard Anthony Sayer [Tony] (1917–2009), composer, was born on 15 September 1917 at 537a Finchley Road, Hampstead, London, the only child of Richard Sayer Arnell (1879–1952), builder and property developer, later aeroplane manufacturer, and his wife, Helene Maggie, otherwise Hélène Marie, née...

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Arnold, Sir Malcolm Henry (1921–2006), trumpeter and composer, was born at Fairview, Cliftonville, Northampton, on 21 October 1921, the fourth son and fifth and youngest child of William Arnold, shoe manufacturer, and his wife, Annie, née Hawes. Coincidentally, two other well-known British composers of the twentieth century, ...

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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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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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Bach, Johann Christian (1735–1782), composer, was born on 5 September 1735 in Leipzig, Saxony, the sixth and youngest son and the eleventh of the thirteen children of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), composer, and his second wife, Anna Magdalena (1701–1760), daughter of Johann Caspar Wilcke...

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Balfe, Michael William (1808–1870), composer, the third child of William Balfe and his wife, Kate, née Ryan, was born at 10 Pitt Street, Dublin, on 15 May 1808. The family moved to Wexford when he was two years old. Balfe received his first musical instruction from his father, a competent violinist and dancing-master, and continued to study violin with ...

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Banks, Iain (1954–2013), author and composer, was born in Dunfermline, Fife, on 16 February 1954, the only surviving child (he had a sister who died at six weeks) of Thomas Menzies (Tom) Banks (1918–2009), an Admiralty officer at the Rosyth naval base, and his wife, ...

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Bantock, Sir Granville Ransome (1868–1946), composer, was born on 7 August 1868 at 44 Cornwall Road, Notting Hill, London, the eldest son of an eminent surgeon and gynaecologist, George Granville Bantock (1837–1913), and his wife, Sophia Elizabeth (Bessie) Ransome (1843–1909). George Bantock had been born in ...

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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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Barrett, Roger Keith [Syd] (1946–2006), musician and songwriter, was born on 6 January 1946 at 60 Glisson Road, Cambridge, the fourth of five children of Arthur Max Barrett, medical practitioner, and his wife, Winifred Flack, née Heeps. Educated at the Cambridge and County High School for Boys...

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Bax, Sir Arnold Edward Trevor (1883–1953), composer, was born on 8 November 1883 in Heath Villa, Angles Road, Streatham, London, the eldest son of Alfred Ridley Bax (1844–1918) and his wife, Charlotte Ellen Lea (1860–1940). His father was a barrister of the Middle Temple...

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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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Benjamin, Arthur Leslie (1893–1960), composer and pianist, was born on 18 September 1893 in Sydney, Australia, the son of Abram Benjamin and his wife, Amelia (whose maiden name may also have been Benjamin). His father worked on the stock exchange. Benjamin began his career as a pianist at the age of six. He studied at ...

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Bennett, Sir Richard Rodney (1936–2012), composer, was born on 29 March 1936 at Cliff Combe nursing home, Broadstairs, Kent, the son of (Harry) Rodney Bennett (1890–1948), children's author and lyricist (as H. Rodney Bennett), and his wife, Joan Esther, née Spink (1901–1983)...

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Bennett, Sir William Sterndale (1816–1875), composer, was born at 7 Howard Street, Sheffield, on 13 April 1816, the third child and only son of Robert Bennett (1788–1819) and his wife, Elizabeth, née Donn (1791–1818). Bennett's grandfather, John Bennett (1754–1837), was a bass lay clerk in the choir which at that time served the ...