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Allen, Sir Hugh Percy (1869–1946), musicologist and conductor, was born at Reading on 23 December 1869, the youngest of the seven children of John Herbert Allen, who was in business with Huntley and Palmers of Reading. His mother, Rebecca, was the daughter of ...

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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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Ashley, John (c. 1734–1805), conductor and bassoonist, was probably born in London, although it is impossible to place or date this with certainty. Little is known of Ashley's musical training and his earlier professional years. He was a bassoon player of considerable ability and may have held an appointment in a wind band of the militia, for ...

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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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Barbirolli, Sir John [formerly Giovanni Battista] (1899–1970), conductor and cellist, was born Giovanni Battista at 12 Southampton Row, London, on 2 December 1899, the elder son and second of the three children of an émigré Italian violinist, Lorenzo Barbirolli (1864–1928), and his Parisian wife, ...

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Sir John Barbirolli (1899–1970) by Georges Maiteny ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Bates, Joah (bap. 1741, d. 1799), musician, was baptized at Halifax on 8 March 1741, the son of Henry Bates, a former woolcomber, turned innkeeper and parish clerk, and his wife, Susan Lister. He received his early education at Dr Ogden's school, and learned music from ...

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Beecham, Sir Thomas, second baronet (1879–1961), conductor, was born on 29 April 1879 in Westfield Street, St Helens, Lancashire, the elder son and second child of Sir Joseph Beecham, first baronet (1848–1916), manufacturing chemist, and his wife, Josephine Burnett, née Dickins (1850–1934). The family's prosperity began with ...

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Sir Thomas Beecham, second baronet (1879–1961) by Stephen Glass ? reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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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 C?te 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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Harry Blech (1909–1999) by Elliott & Fry, 1958 ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blech, Harry [formerly Hirsch] (1909–1999), conductor and violinist, was born in the East End of London in June 1909, the son of Henri Blech, provisions merchant and commercial traveller, and his wife, Sophie Stock. Shortly after he was born his father went to ...

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Boult, Sir Adrian Cedric (1889–1983), conductor, was born on 8 April 1889 at 4 Abbots Hayes, Liverpool Road, Chester, the only son and second child of Cedric Randal Boult (1853–1950), an oil merchant, and his wife, Katherine Florence Barman (d. 1927). He showed exceptional early musical promise. He entered ...

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Sir Adrian Cedric Boult (1889–1983) by Felix H. Man, 1935 ? Estate of Felix H. Man / National Portrait Gallery, London

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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 ...