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Karl Friedrich Abel (1723–1787) by Thomas Gainsborough, exh. RA 1777 The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA, USA

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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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(Abraham) Felix Barter Aprahamian (1914–2005) by Pete Wicker © Pete Wicker; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Aprahamian, (Apraham) Felix Bartev (1914–2005), music critic and concert organizer, was born on 5 June 1914 at 16 Inderwick Road, Hornsey, London, the son of Avedis Aprahamian, formerly Hovhanessian (b. 1871), carpet dealer, and his wife, Araxie, née Garabedian. His parents were both Armenian immigrants from ...

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Ayrton, William (1777–1858), impresario and writer, was born in London on 24 February 1777, one of the fourteen children of Edmund Ayrton (1734–1808), composer, and his wife, Ann (1739–1800), daughter of Benjamin Clay. He was unsuccessful in winning the Gresham professorship of music in 1801; however, in 1807 he was elected a fellow of the ...

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Beale, Thomas Willert (1828–1894), impresario and composer, was born in London, the eldest of the four children of Frederick Beale (1804–1863), of the music publishing firm of Cramer, Beale, and Addison of Regent Street, and his wife, Margaret, née Betts, of Charles Street, Grosvenor Square...

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Bisse, Thomas (1675–1731), Church of England clergyman and founder of the Three Choirs festival, was baptized on 6 April 1675 at Oldbury on the Hill, Gloucestershire, one of two sons of John Bisse (c.1638–1686), rector of that parish, and his wife, ...

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Thomas Britton (1644–1714) by John Wollaston, 1703 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Britton, Thomas (1644–1714), concert promoter, book collector, and coal merchant, was born on 14 January 1644 at Rushden near Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire. He migrated to London where he apprenticed himself to a ‘small-coal’ (slack-coal, or charcoal) merchant near St John the Baptist's Street...

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Chisnall, (James) Arthur White (1925–2006), social worker and club and concert promoter, was born on 3 June 1925 at 33 Birkenhead Avenue, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, the son of Elizabeth Goater Chisnall, of no fixed occupation, then residing at 7 Cambridge Road, Kingston upon Thames...

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Maker: George Rodger

John Christie (1882–1962) by George Rodger, 1946 © Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

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Christie, John (1882–1962), founder of Glyndebourne Opera, was born on 14 December 1882, at Eggesford, Devon, the only child of Augustus Langham Christie (1857–1930), a country squire, and his wife, Lady Rosamond Alicia Wallop (d. 1935), third daughter of the fifth earl of Portsmouth...

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Arabella Spencer Churchill (1949–2007) by Ian Hargreaves, 1976 © Ian Hargreaves / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Churchill, Arabella Spencer [Bella] (1949–2007), festival and charity founder, was born on 30 October 1949 at 12 Catherine Place, Westminster, London, the only daughter of Randolph Frederick Edward Spencer Churchill (1911–1968), journalist and politician, and his second wife, June Hermione, née Osborne (1922–1980)...

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Cornelys [née Imer; married name Pompeati], (Anna Maria) Teresa [known as Madame Trenti, Mrs Smith] (1723?–1797), singer and impresario, was born in Venice, probably in 1723, to the Genoan actor and impresario Giuseppe Imer (d. 1758) and his wife. Many particulars of her life, especially before 1759, derive from ...

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Cornysh [Cornysshe], William (d. 1523), composer and court impresario, is of unknown parentage. It is likely that he was close kin, perhaps even a son, of William Cornysh [Cornysshe] (d. 1502), composer, also of unknown parentage. Nothing is known of the elder ...

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Daly, John (1937–2008), film and music producer and promoter, was born on 16 July 1937 at Lambeth Hospital, London, one of five children of Thomas Daly, a dock labourer and manager of a boxing gym in Bermondsey, and his wife, Emily Louise, née...

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J. W. Ebsworth

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Ebsworth, Joseph (1788–1868), playwright and musician, the elder son of Joseph and Isabella Ebsworth, was born at Islington, London, on 10 October 1788, and was in early life apprenticed to a watch-jeweller named Cornwall. He was a talented watch-mender and was later chosen to reconstruct the watch of the prince regent. Having a rich baritone voice, he joined the operatic company at ...

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Edgecombe, John Arthur Alexander [Johnny] (1932–2010), jazz promoter and marijuana advocate, was born in St John's, Antigua, on 22 October 1932, the youngest of eight children of John Edgecombe, a seaman with his own two-masted schooner who transported gasoline from Trinidad. He went to sea with his father as a child, then branched out on his own. In 1949 he travelled to ...

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Emery, Lina Madeleine Lalandi- [née Lina Madeleine Yeleki Kaloyeropoulou; known as Lina Lalandi] (1920–2012), harpsichordist and founder and director of the English Bach Festival, was born on 13 July 1920 in Athens, Greece, the daughter of Nikolas Kaloyeropoulos, director of the Byzantine Museum, Athens...