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Aston, Hugh (d. 1558), composer and choirmaster, is of obscure origins. He became one of the foremost church musicians of his generation, the peer of John Taverner, and yet biographers have sometimes confused him with namesakes. He is not Hugh Aston, canon of ...

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Chelle, William (fl. 1524–1559), Church of England clergyman and musician, was born probably in the diocese of Worcester; he may be the William Chell who, a secular, was ordained acolyte on 21 May 1513 and subdeacon on 7 March 1516. Now a priest, he supplicated for the degree of BMus at ...

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Cowper [Cooper], Robert (c. 1465–1539/40), composer, was apparently brought up in Sussex, but of his parentage and musical training nothing is known. From early 1493 until October 1496 he served as a lay clerk in the choir of King's College, Cambridge, and he was admitted by the university to the degree of bachelor of music on 13 June 1494. During 1501–2 he was licensed to proceed as doctor of music on the grounds that five years of study and five years of practical experience so qualified him, and he was eventually admitted during 1506–7. Described as 'of ...

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Damascene, Alexander (d. 1719), singer and composer, was born in France. He was a protestant, and presumably it was for this reason that he went to England, where he obtained letters of denization on 22 July 1682. On 22 July 1680 he married ...

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Davies, Harry Parr (1914–1955), songwriter and composer, was born on 24 May 1914 at 15 Grandison Street, Briton Ferry, Glamorgan, the son of David John Davies, a bootmaker, and his wife, Rosina Parr, a teacher. He was playing the chapel organ and composing musical pieces by the age of twelve, and while attending ...

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Davies, Rowland (1740–1797), composer and Roman Catholic priest, was born on 9 May 1740 in London, son of Rowland Davies and his wife, Jane Nicholas. He was a pupil of George Frideric Handel, and is said to have played the organ at the coronation of ...

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Delius, Frederick Theodor Albert (1862–1934), composer, was born on 29 January 1862 at Claremont, Horton Lane, Bradford, Yorkshire, the grandson of Ernst Friedrich Delius (1790–1831) and the fourth of the fourteen children of Julius Delius (1822–1901) and his wife, Elise Pauline Krönig (1838–1929)...

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Frederick Theodor Albert Delius (1862–1934) by Ernest Procter, 1929 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Fraser, Simon (1773–1852), editor of traditional music and composer, was born at Ardachie, near Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire. His father, Captain John Fraser, son of Angus Fraser of Errogie, served with the 78th (Highland) regiment (the Black Watch) and 'scaled the heights of Abram...

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Horn, Charles Frederick (1762–1830), musician, was born on 24 February 1762 in Nordhausen, Germany, the third of four children of ‘John’ (presumably Johann) Wolfgang Horn (b. 1737, d. before 1793) and his wife, Sophia Dorothea, née Shenaman (1735–1798). His father intended him to become a surveyor and destroyed his clavichord so that he would concentrate upon that career, but was unable to stop him from studying music with the ...

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Johnson, Robert (d. after 1549), priest and composer, was born in Duns, Berwickshire. According to an annotation in the partbooks that Thomas Wode, vicar of St Andrews, copied (c.1562–92), Johnson fled to England after being ‘deletit’, that is, delated, or summoned before an ecclesiastical court, on charges of heresy. During the reign of ...

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Nicholas Lanier (bap. 1588, d. 1666) by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 1628? Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

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Lanier, Nicholas (bap. 1588, d. 1666), musician and art dealer, was baptized on 10 September 1588 in the church of Holy Trinity Minories, London. His father, John Lanier (d. 1616), was a sackbut player in the royal court band or musick, and his mother, ...

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Ludford, Nicholas (c. 1490–1557), composer, whose early musical training is unknown, may have originated from London. In 1495 the composer John Ludforde, perhaps his father, joined the fraternity of St Nicholas, the London Guild of Parish Clerks; Nicholas Ludford himself joined in 1521. The composer occupied the majority of his adult working life employed at the royal collegiate chapel of ...

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Lupo, Thomas (bap. 1571?, d. 1627/8?), violinist and composer, son of Joseph Lupo (d. 1616), violinist, and his wife, Laura Bassano (d. in or before 1596), was probably the 'Thomas s[on] [of] Basanew' baptized at St Olave, Hart Street, London...

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(Jacob Ludwig) Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809–1847) by Eduard Magnus © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mendelssohn Bartholdy, (Jacob Ludwig) Felix (1809–1847), composer, was born on 3 February 1809 at Hamburg, Germany, the second of four children of the Jewish banker Abraham Mendelssohn (1776–1835) and his wife, Lea, née Salomon (1777–1842). In 1811 the family moved to Berlin, where the precocious musical gifts of ...

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Mico [Meco], Richard (c. 1590–1661), musician and composer, was the eldest of four sons and five daughters of Walter Mico of Taunton in Somerset, who was probably involved in the cloth trade, and his wife, Margery (d. 1616), from an Oxfordshire family named ...

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J. E. Lloyd

revised by Trevor Herbert

Mills, Richard [pseud. Rhydderch Hael] (1809–1844), composer, was the son by his second marriage of Henry Mills (1757–1820), an important pioneer of Welsh congregational singing. He was born at Tŷ newydd, Llanidloes, in March 1809. He showed musical talent at an early age, and competed successfully at eisteddfods on both musical and literary subjects. He left school at the age of eleven and established his identity as a musician when he was fifteen, when his hymn tune ...

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Philip ap Rhys [Philipp Ryse] (fl. 1547–1559), organist and composer, was apparently of Welsh descent, although all available biographical information refers to London. According to the churchwardens' accounts of St Mary-at-Hill, near Billingsgate in the city of London, 'Philipp Ryse, organ player' received wages of ...