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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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Albani [married name Gye], Dame Emma [née Marie Louise Cécile Emma Lajeunesse] (1847–1930), singer, was born on 1 November 1847 at Chambly, Quebec, Canada, one of three surviving children of Joseph Lajeunesse, organist, and his wife, Mélina Mignault (d. 1856)...

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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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Allan, (Maria Caterina) Rosalbina Caradori- [Carradori-] (1800–1865), singer, was born in Milan. Her father, Baron de Munck, was an Alsatian and a colonel in the French army. Her mother, whose maiden name, Carradori, she adopted (and always so spelt in Italy), came from ...

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Armstrong, Sir Thomas Henry Wait (1898–1994), organist and college administrator, was born on 15 June 1898 at Peterborough, the only son of Amos Ebenezer Armstrong (1878–1950), an organist and choirmaster, and his wife, Elizabeth Annie West, née Handford (1880–1939), a former headmistress. He had two younger sisters, ...

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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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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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Audain, Ida Augusta (1854?–1932), harpist, was born around 1854 in Kingstown, St Vincent, the daughter of a merchant, John Audain, later a member of the Executive and Legislative Councils of St Vincent and owner of the Richmond Hill estate, and his black wife, ...

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Austral, Florence (1892–1968), singer, was born Florence Mary Wilson on 26 April 1892 in Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria (the same suburb in which Dame Nellie Melba had been born in 1861), the daughter of a Swede, Wilhelm Lindholm, who had emigrated to ...

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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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Baddeley [née Snow], Sophia (bap. 1744, d. 1786), actress and singer, was baptized on 12 October 1744 at St Mary-at-Lambeth, the daughter of Valentine Snow (d. 1770) and his wife, Mary, and not in the parish of St Margaret, Westminster, in 1745, as stated in ...

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Baillie, Dame Isobel [real name Isabella Douglas Baillie] (1895–1983), singer, was born on 9 March 1895 at 2 Princes Street, Wilton, in the border town of Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland, the youngest in a family of a son and three daughters of Martin Pott Baillie...

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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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Bannister [née Harper], Elizabeth (1757–1849), actress and singer, was, according to the encomium in the Thespian Magazine (1793), the daughter of a Mrs Harpur, 'now a mantua-maker [dressmaker] at Bath', who, having made a marriage disapproved of by her family, educated her daughter perforce '...

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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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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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Barnes, Frederick Jester (1885–1938), singer, was born on 31 May 1885 at 219 Great Lister Street, Saltley, Birmingham, the only child of Thomas William Barnes (1860/61–1913), butcher, and his wife, Mary Alice Jester (d. 1899/1900). The family moved across to 214 Great Lister Street...

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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 ...