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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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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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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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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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Blades, James (1901–1999), percussionist and author, was born on 9 September 1901 at 166 Star Road, Peterborough, the eldest among the four sons and one daughter of Thomas Weston Blades (1879–1953), journeyman tailor, and his wife, Catherine Close (d. 1921). Jimmy Blades...

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Blagrave, Thomas (d. 1688), musician, was the eldest son of Richard Blagrave (d. 1641) and his third wife, Ann (d. in or after 1672), who were married at Northwood, Isle of Wight, on 19 February 1622. Richard, of Berkshire ancestry, was a musician at the court of ...

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Blanke, John (fl. 1507–1512), royal trumpeter, was employed as a musician at the courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII, making his first recorded appearance there in 1507. He is thought to have been of African descent, but his age, place of birth, and parentage are unknown. His surname may have originated as a nickname, derived from the word ...

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Blow, John (1648?–1708), musician and composer, was baptized at St Mary Magdalene, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, on 23 February 1649. The record of his doctorate at Lambeth Palace confirms the identification; the age on his marriage allegation suggests that he was born in 1648. He was the second of three children of ...

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Boyce, William (bap. 1711, d. 1779), composer, organist, and music editor, was born in Maiden Lane, London, and was baptized on 11 September 1711 at St James Garlickhythe, the youngest of four children of John Boyce (1673–1752), joiner and cabinet-maker, and his wife, ...

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W. G. Alcock

revised by Judith Blezzard

Bridge, Sir (John) Frederick (1844–1924), organist and composer, was born on 5 December 1844 at Oldbury, Worcestershire, the eldest son of John Bridge, of Oldbury, and his wife, Rebecca Cox. After moving to Rochester, John Bridge was appointed a vicar-choral at the cathedral. ...

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Broadwood, Lucy Etheldred (1858–1929), musician and folk-song collector, was born on 9 August 1858 at Pavilion House, Melrose, Scotland, the youngest of the eleven children of Henry Fowler Broadwood (1811–1893), piano manufacturer, and his wife, Juliana Maria, née Birch (1816–1898). She was the great-granddaughter of ...

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Cann, Rita Evelyn [performing name Rita Lawrence] (1911–2001), pianist and singer, was born on 24 January 1911 at Heathfield, Box Ridge Avenue, Beddington, Surrey, the elder daughter and eldest of three children of Albert Sam Cann (1871–1930×34), an import–export merchant, and his wife, ...

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Carolan, Turlough [Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin] (1670–1738), harper and composer, was born near Nobber, co. Meath, where his father (identified variously as John and Brian) was probably a small farmer and perhaps also an ironworker. When the young Carolan was in his early teens the family moved to ...

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Caton, Lauderic Rex (1910–1999), guitarist and composer, was born on 31 August 1910 in Arena, Cedros, Trinidad, the fourth son and last among the eight children of Robert Caton, a merchant, and Margaret Caton, a baker. His father, who was of St Lucian descent, left soon after his birth and he was brought up by his mother, a Trinidadian. He learned tonic solfa at school and from the age of ten taught reading, writing, and arithmetic in elementary school. He also learned to play his brother-in-law's guitar and took violin lessons while studying diesel engineering in ...

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Child, William (1606/7–1697), composer and organist, was born in Bristol, and, according to Anthony Wood (Wood, Ath. Oxon., 2.265), educated under Elway Bevin, the cathedral organist. There is, however, no evidence that he was a chorister at the cathedral, although on 5 April 1620 he was apprenticed to one of the lay clerks, ...

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Chopin, Fryderyk Franciszek [Frédéric François] (1810–1849), composer and pianist, was born at Żelazowa Wola, near Warsaw, probably on 1 March 1810, the second of the four children of the Frenchman Nicolas (Mikołaj) Chopin (1771–1844), a tutor, and his Polish wife, Tekla-Justyna Krzyżanowska (1782–1861)...