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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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Atkins, Sir Ivor Algernon (1869–1953), organist and choirmaster, was born on 29 November 1869 at Llandaff, near Cardiff, the sixth child and third son of Frederick Pyke Atkins (1830–1897), organist of St John's parish church in Cardiff, and his wife, Harriet Maria, née...

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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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Corrigan, Kathleen [name in religion Felicitas Corrigan] (1908–2003), nun, writer, and church musician, was born on 6 March 1908 at 16 Gurnall Street, Everton, Liverpool, the second of eight surviving children of Joseph Corrigan, a 'private coachman' or taxi driver of Irish extraction, and his wife, ...

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F. H. Shera

revised by James J. Nott

Coward, Sir Henry (1849–1944), chorus master, was born at Liverpool on 26 November 1849, the only son of Henry Coward, a Sheffield-born cutler who became an innkeeper and black-face minstrel, and his wife, Harriet Carr, who was also a singer. A hard youth as a cutler's apprentice in ...

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Davies, Daniel [Dan] (1859–1930), choral conductor, was born at 39 Berry Square, Dowlais, Glamorgan, on 27 May 1859, the son of David Davies and his wife, Elizabeth. His parents had migrated from rural Carmarthenshire in 1850. His father, a butcher, was formerly employed as a coalminer by the local iron company, ...

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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 ...

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Evans, Henry [Harry] (1873–1914), musician, was born in Russell Street, Dowlais, an industrial township adjoining Merthyr Tudful, Glamorgan, on 1 May 1873, the fifth of ten children born to John Evans (Eos Myrddin; 1841–1905), iron rollerman, and his wife, Sarah, née Powell, dressmaker. Baptized ...

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L. M. Middleton

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Fawcett, John (1789–1867), composer and choirmaster, was born in the village of Wennington in Lancashire on 8 December 1789. He followed his father's trade of shoemaking until 1825, but also pursued a keen interest in music. He was self-taught, and began his studies by copying out, and even writing from memory, the scores and parts of the hymn tunes practised in the village choir. At the age of twelve he joined a singing class and learned the ...

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Fayrfax [Fairfax], Robert (1464–1521), composer and church musician, was born on 23 April 1464 at Deeping Gate, Northamptonshire, the sixth of at least twelve children of William Fayrfax (d. 1498) and his second wife, Anne, daughter of Robert Tanfeld. The Fayrfaxes were typical minor gentry of the period, intermarrying with other armigerous families and creating ties of respect and obligation with their neighbours. The list of godparents and sponsors chosen by ...

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Giles, Nathaniel (c. 1558–1634), choirmaster and composer, was born in or near Worcester, the son of William Giles, of a well-known local family—that he was the son of Thomas Giles has been disproved. Giles became a clerk of Magdalen College, Oxford, for the year 1577—the claim that he was a chorister of ...

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Godwin [Godwyn], Matthew (1569?–1587), organist and choirmaster, was probably born in July 1569. Although Godwin's parentage is uncertain, it seems likely that he was a close relative of Thomas Godwin (1517–1590), dean of Canterbury Cathedral (1567–84), and therefore also of Thomas's second son, ...

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Guest, George Howell (1924–2002), organist and choirmaster, was born on 9 February 1924 at 18 Friars Avenue, Bangor, Caernarvonshire, the only son of Ernest Joseph Guest, grocer and amateur organist, and his wife, Gwendolen, née Brown. He was educated at the Friars' School, Bangor...

Article

Thompson Cooper

revised by David J. Golby

Helmore, Thomas (1811–1890), teacher and choirmaster, was born in Kidderminster on 7 May 1811, the son of a Congregational minister. Before going to Magdalen Hall, Oxford (BA, 1840; MA, 1845), he trained his father's choir and taught in his day school at Stratford upon Avon...

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Horwood, William (c. 1430–1484), church musician and composer, is of unknown parentage and upbringing. During 1458–9 he was admitted to the Confraternity of St Nicholas, a guild of the clerks and professional musicians working in the parish and collegiate churches of the London...

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Jackson, William (1815–1866), composer and choral conductor, born at Masham, Yorkshire, on 9 January 1815, was the son of John Jackson, a miller, of Tanfield. As a child, encouraged by his parents, he taught himself to play the fife and the flute. Having been sent to boarding-school in ...

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Jones, Griffith Rhys [performing name Caradog] (1834–1897), choral conductor, was born on 21 December 1834 in the Rose and Crown inn, Trecynon, Aberdar, an address which provided him with the early nickname Griff o'r Crown. He was the son of John Jones (1789–1847)...

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Loudin, Frederick J. (1836–1904), choirmaster, was born in Portage county, Ohio, in 1836, the son of a farmer. His colour severely restricted his opportunities although Ohio was not a slave state. His father had contributed funds to a nearby college, but Loudin was refused a place because of his colour. Educated in ...

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Malcolm, George John (1917–1997), musician and choirmaster, was born on 28 February 1917 at 9 Leppoc Road, Clapham, London, the only child of George Hope Malcolm (1870–1950), a chief inspector of insurance, and his wife, Johanna, née Brosnahan (1883–1972). His father was Scottish. Neither parent had a particular interest in the arts, but his mother was a staunch Roman Catholic, so it was the plainsong of the mass in the church of the ...

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McKie, Sir William Neil (1901–1984), church musician, was born on 22 May 1901 in Melbourne, Australia, the second son (the first died in infancy) in the family of three sons and three daughters of the Revd William McKie, vicar of St Philip's, Collingwood...