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W. B. Squire

revised by Nicholas Salwey

Abell, John (b. 1653, d. in or after 1716), singer and composer, was born in Aberdeenshire and was admitted as a 'gentleman of his majesty's chapel extraordinary' on 1 May 1679, about which time he is listed among the musicians of the king's private music, as singer, lutenist, and violinist. ...

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Aleyn, John [J. Alanus] (d. 1373), composer, probably came from Pattishall, Northamptonshire. He is first recorded on 29 April 1361 in possession of a chantry in the church of St James Garlickhythe, London. By Michaelmas 1362 he was a clerk and chaplain in the household chapel of ...

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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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See Arne family

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Thomas Augustine Arne (1710–1778) by William Humphrey, pubd 1778 (after Robert Dunkarton, c. 1770) © Copyright The British Museum

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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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Ashwell, Thomas (b. c. 1478, d. in or after 1524), composer, is of unknown parentage. He was admitted a chorister of St George's Chapel, Windsor, on 29 October 1491, and left on 14 January 1493; so brief a career indicates that he had been recruited by impressment, fully trained, from some other choir. Thereafter he made his career as a church musician. During 1502–3 he was a lay singing-man of the choir of the collegiate church of ...

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Johann Christian Bach (1735–1782) by Thomas Gainsborough, 1776 [replica] © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

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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Michael William Balfe (1808–1870) by Herbert Watkins, late 1850s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Jonathan Hall and Magnus Williamson

Banastre [Banaster], Gilbert (d. 1487), composer and poet, is of obscure origins, but was possibly related to (or even the son of) Henry Banaster (d. 1456) of Southwark, a yeoman of Henry VI's household. His mother, Alice, was still alive when he made his will. A birth date not later than ...

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Barnett, John Francis (1837–1916), composer and pianist, born in London on 16 October 1837, was the son of a singing teacher, Joseph Alfred Barnett (the younger brother of the composer John Barnett), and his wife, née Hudson. He showed an early talent for music and began to study the piano at the age of six. In 1848 he commenced piano lessons with ...

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Barrett, Thomas Augustine [pseuds. Leslie Stuart, Lester Thomas] (1863–1928), composer, was born on 15 March 1863 in Southport, Lancashire, the younger son of Thomas Barrett, cabinet-maker (b. c.1830), and his wife, Mary Ann Burke, née Lester (b. c...

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Bedyngham, John (d. 1459/60), composer, is of unknown parentage and birth, though his name suggests a family of Norfolk origins. A hypothesis that he is identical with John Bodenham (1422–1458), scholar and fellow of New College, Oxford, has not won general acceptance. Bedyngham...

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Benet, John (d. 1458), composer, has left about twenty compositions whose style proclaims him to have been a slightly younger contemporary of John Dunstaple, perhaps a close disciple. Nothing is known of his parentage or birth and very little of his life. He may have been a vicar-choral at ...

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Sir Lennox Randal Francis Berkeley (1903–1989) by Nicolo Vogel © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Berkeley, Sir Lennox Randal Francis (1903–1989), composer, was born on 12 May 1903 at Melford Cottage, Boars Hill, near Oxford, the younger child and only son of Captain Hastings George FitzHardinge Berkeley RN (1855–1934) (the eldest son of George Lennox Rawdon Berkeley, seventh earl of Berkeley...

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

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Berlioz, (Louis) Hector (1803–1869), composer and conductor, was born on 11 December 1803 in La Côte St André, in the département of Isère, France, the first of four children of Dr Louis-Joseph Berlioz and his wife, Marie-Antoinette-Joséphine, commonly known as Joséphine, the daughter of ...