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Iain Banks (1954–2013) by Mark Gerson, 1985 © Mark Gerson / Bridgeman Art Library

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Banks, Iain (1954–2013), author and composer, was born in Dunfermline, Fife, on 16 February 1954, the only surviving child (he had a sister who died at six weeks) of Thomas Menzies (Tom) Banks (1918–2009), an Admiralty officer at the Rosyth naval base, and his wife, ...

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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 ...

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Rutland Boughton (1878–1960) by Herbert Lambert, 1921 © Jenny Letton, administered by Composer Prints Ltd.; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Boughton, Rutland (1878–1960), composer, was born in Bicester Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, on 23 January 1878, the elder son in a family of two boys and one girl of William Rutland Boughton (1841–1905), a grocer at 37 Buckingham Street, and his wife, Grace Martha (1845–1924)...

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(Edward) Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten (1913–1976) by Sir Cecil Beaton © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby's; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Britten, (Edward) Benjamin, Baron Britten (1913–1976), composer, was born on 22 November 1913 in Lowestoft, Suffolk, the youngest of the four children (two sons and two daughters) of Robert Victor Britten (1878–1934), a dental surgeon, and his wife, Edith Rhoda (1874–1937), the daughter of ...

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Alan Dudley Bush (1900–1995) by Elliott & Fry, 1946 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bush, Alan Dudley (1900–1995), composer, was born in Dulwich, London, on 22 December 1900, the son of Alfred Walter Bush (1869–1935), director of W. J. Bush & Co., manufacturing chemists, and his wife, Alice Maud Brinsley (1870–1951). He was educated privately, then at ...

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(Philip) Christian Darnton (1905–1981) by Howard Coster, 1940 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Darnton, (Philip) Christian (1905–1981), composer and writer, was born on 30 October 1905 in Leeds, the third son and third among the three children of John Edward Darnton, formerly von Schunck (1869–1940), landowner, and his wife, Mary Gertrude (1871–1952), daughter of Henry Illingworth...

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

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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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Gerald Raphael Finzi (1901–1956) by Herbert Lambert © Jenny Letton, administered by Composer Prints Ltd.; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London / Country Life Picture Library

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Finzi, Gerald Raphael (1901–1956), composer, was born on 14 July 1901 at 53 (now 93) Hamilton Terrace, St John's Wood, London, the fifth and last child of John Abraham Finzi, known as Jack (1860–1909), founder of a shipbroking company, and his wife, Eliza Emma Leverson, known as Lizzie (1865–1955)...

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Foulds, John Herbert (1880–1939), composer and author, was born on 2 November 1880 at 49 Dorset Street, Hulme, Manchester, one of the four children of Fred Foulds, a bassoonist, and his wife, Mary, née Greenwood, who were both members of the Plymouth Brethren...

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Holmes, Henry (1839–1905), violinist and composer, was born on 7 November 1839 at 1 Cross Street, Westminster, London, the second son of Thomas Holmes of Lincoln, a shoemaker, and his wife, Eliza, née Sutch. He went to school at the oratory, King William Street, Strand...

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Keal, Minna (1909–1999), composer, was born Minnie Nerenstein on 22 March 1909 at 81 Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, east London, into a Yiddish-speaking family from Grodno, Russian Poland, the eldest daughter of Jacob Nerenstein (d. 1926), a Jewish prayer-book publisher and seller, and his wife, ...

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John Frederick Lampe (1702/33–1751) by James Macardell (after S. Andrea) © Copyright The British Museum