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Adson, John (bap. 1587?, d. 1640), musician and composer, may have been the Johannes Adson baptized at Watford, Northamptonshire, on 24 January 1587. Nothing else is known of his origins. By 1604, well before the usual age to finish an apprenticeship (which was about twenty-four), he was employed as a cornetto player at the court of ...

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Alcock, John (1715–1806), organist and composer, was born at the family home, Crane Court, St Peter's Hill, London, on 11 April 1715, the third of the eight children of Daniel Alcock (bap. 1686) and his wife, Mary. They lived only a stone's throw from ...

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Amner, John (d. 1641), composer and organist, came from a family which was intimately associated with the music at Ely Cathedral for over half a century. Michael Amner, his uncle, was a lay clerk at the cathedral (1576–88), as was also Ralph Amner...

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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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Frederick Corder

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Arnold, George Benjamin (1832–1902), organist and composer, born on 22 December 1832 at Petworth, Sussex, was the son of George Frederick Handel Arnold, organist of the parish church of Petworth, and his wife, Mary. He was articled to George William Chard, the organist of ...

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Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold (1921–2006) by Erich Auerbach, 1961 Getty Images

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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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Thomas Attwood (1765–1838) by unknown artist, c. 1815 Royal College of Music, London; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ayleward, Richard (1626–1669), composer and organist, was born at Winchester, the son of Richard Ayleward, a minor canon at the cathedral. He sang there as a chorister under Christopher Gibbons in 1638 and 1639. Nothing is known of his whereabouts during the interregnum. At the Restoration he was appointed organist and master of the choristers at ...

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Ayrton, Edmund (1734–1808), composer and musician, was born on 21 October 1734 at Ripon, Yorkshire, the third of the four surviving children of Edward Ayrton (1698–1774), alderman and later mayor and magistrate of the borough of Ripon, and his wife, Catherine (1701?–1781), daughter of ...

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J. A. F. Maitland

revised by K. D. Reynolds

Babell, William (1689/90–1723), musical arranger and harpsichordist, was the son of a bassoonist in the Drury Lane Theatre orchestra, and was taught by his father, by John Christopher Pepusch, and possibly by Handel. A proficient violinist, harpsichordist, and organist, he was active in ...

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W. B. Squire

revised by Clive Brown

Bache, Francis Edward (1833–1858), composer and organist, was born on 14 September 1833 at Birmingham, the eldest of the seven children of Samuel Bache (1804–1876), a Unitarian minister, and his wife, Emily, née Higginson (d. 1855). From a very early age he showed extraordinary talent for music, learning the piano, organ, and violin. On the last instrument, which he studied with ...

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Bacon, Thomas (1700?–1768), Church of England clergyman and musician, was probably born either in the Isle of Man or Cumberland. He had at least one brother. He is known to have been in charge of a coal depot in Dublin in 1737, the year in which he published ...

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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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Barthélémon, François Hippolyte (1741–1808), violinist and composer, was born at Bordeaux, France, on 27 July 1741. He was the eldest of sixteen children of the wig maker Emmanuel Barthélémon and Françoise Laroche. Charles Higham has said that he may have been an officer in the ...

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Bartholomew [née Mounsey], Ann Shepherd (1811–1891), composer, pianist, and organist, was born on 17 April 1811 at 21 Old Compton Street, Soho, London, the eldest child of Thomas Mounsey, a licensed victualler, and his wife, Mary, née Briggs. Her younger sister, Elizabeth Mounsey...

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Bateson, Thomas (d. 1630), composer and organist, first appears as the father of a son baptized in 1592; he may have been born in the Wirral, Cheshire, but the identity of both his parents and his wife is unknown. In 1599 he was appointed organist of ...