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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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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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Bainton, Edgar Leslie (1880–1956), composer and conductor, was born on 14 February 1880 at 2 Florence Villas, De Beauvoir Square, Hackney, London, the second son among the three children of the Revd George Bainton, a Congregational minister, and his wife, Mary Cave, both Londoners by birth. They moved to ...

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Barnby, Sir Joseph (1838–1896), composer and conductor, was born on 12 August 1838 at Swinegate, York, the youngest child in the family of fifteen children of Thomas Barnby, a shoemaker and organist, and his wife Barbara, née Robinson. At the age of seven he became a chorister at ...

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Benedict, Sir Julius (1804–1885), conductor and composer, was born at Stuttgart, Germany, on 27 November 1804 (in some nineteenth-century reference works the date was given incorrectly as 24 December 1804), the son of a rich German Jewish banker. At the Stuttgart Gymnasium he received a thorough general education and showed exceptional ability in all his studies. His musical talents were fostered by ...

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Sir Julius Benedict (1804–1885) by Lock & Whitfield, pubd 1881 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Stanley Black (1913–2002) by unknown photographer, 1958 © Empics

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Black, Stanley (1913–2002), bandleader, pianist, and composer, was born in the London Hospital, Whitechapel, London, on 14 June 1913, the son of Lewis Schwartz, shoe dealer, and his wife, Sophia, formerly Diamond. He began taking piano lessons at the age of seven, and went on to study at the ...

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Bridge, Frank (1879–1941), composer and conductor, was born on 26 February 1879 at 7 North Road, Brighton, the tenth of twelve children of William Henry Bridge (1845–1928) and the first of the three children from his third marriage, to Elizabeth Warbrick (1846–1899). Frank's...

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Brown, (Elizabeth) Iona (1941–2004), violinist and conductor, was born on 7 January 1941 at the Cedars Nursing Home, Manor Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire, the first of four children of Antony Francis Brown, pianist and organist, and his wife, Fiona Mary, née Whitham, violinist. At the time of her birth her parents lived at ...

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F. G. Edwards

revised by James J. Nott

Cellier, Alfred (1844–1891), composer and conductor, the son of Arsène Cellier, a French master at Hackney grammar school, was born at Hackney, Middlesex, on 1 December 1844. He was educated at the grammar school there, and at the age of eleven he became a chorister at the ...

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Chisholm, Erik William (1904–1965), composer and conductor, was born on 4 January 1904 at 2 Balmoral Villas, Cathcart, Glasgow, son of John Chisholm, master house painter, and his wife, Elizabeth McGeachy Macleod. His formal schooling was short: at the age of thirteen he was removed from ...

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Coates, Albert Henry (1882–1953), conductor and composer, was born on 23 April 1882 at St Petersburg, Russia, the youngest of seven sons of Charles Thomas Coates, businessman, and his wife, also born near St Petersburg, daughter of James Gibson and Mary Randall.

Coates...

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Cooke, Henry (d. 1672), singer, composer, and choirmaster, was 'bred up' in the Chapel Royal according to Anthony Wood, but Joseph Bridge's suggestion that his father was John Cooke of the chapel, formerly a vicar-choral at Lichfield, is speculative. Cooke joined the royalist army in the civil wars; it is uncertain whether he was the ...

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Sir Michael Andrew Angus Costa (1808–1884) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Costa, Sir Michael Andrew Angus [formerly Michele Andrea Agniello] (1808–1884), conductor and composer, was born in Naples on 4 February 1808, the son of Pasquale Costa. He studied with his father, his maternal grandfather Giacomo Tritto, and Giovanni Furno, then at the ...

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Cowen, Sir Frederic Hymen [Hyman Frederick] (1852–1935), conductor and composer, was born on 29 January 1852 in Kingston, Jamaica, the younger son of Frederick Augustus Cowen (d. 1876) and his wife, Emily, the second daughter of James Davis of Kingston. Back in ...

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Davy [Davys], Richard (d. 1521?), church musician, is of unknown origins, but rose to be one of the leading composers of his generation. All that is certain about his career is that he was instructor of the choristers at Magdalen College, Oxford, from Michaelmas 1490 until Christmas 1491; he could have held the post as early as Michaelmas 1488 and as late as Christmas 1493. It is probable, however, that he stayed no longer than the many other instructors employed by the college during the 1480s and 1490s; the position was poorly paid, and its occupants tended to move to more lucrative employment. A ...