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Karl Friedrich Abel (1723–1787) by Thomas Gainsborough, exh. RA 1777 The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA, USA

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Abel, Karl Friedrich (1723–1787), composer and concert impresario, was born on 22 December 1723 in C?then, Saxony, one of six children. His father, Christian Ferdinand Abel (c.1683–1737), served as violinist for Johann Sebastian Bach, under whom Karl Friedrich may have studied at the ...

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Aitken, Laurel [real name Oliver Anthony Stephens] (1925–2005), singer, songwriter, and record producer, was born on 22 April 1925, in Jamaica, one of six children of a Jamaican father and a Cuban mother. His early years were spent in Havana, Cuba, but the family moved to ...

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(Abraham) Felix Barter Aprahamian (1914–2005) by Pete Wicker ? Pete Wicker; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Aprahamian, (Apraham) Felix Bartev (1914–2005), music critic and concert organizer, was born on 5 June 1914 at 16 Inderwick Road, Hornsey, London, the son of Avedis Aprahamian, formerly Hovhanessian (b. 1871), carpet dealer, and his wife, Araxie, née Garabedian. His parents were both Armenian immigrants from ...

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Arden, Don [real name Harry Levy] (1926–2007), rock music manager and promoter, was born on 4 January 1926 at 123 Crescent Road, Crumpsall, Manchester, the son of Lazarus Levy, a machinist in a factory making waterproof garments, and his wife, Sarah (Sally), ...

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Don Arden (1926–2007) by unknown photographer, 1968 Evening News / Rex Features

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Aspinall, Neil Stanley (1941–2008), music executive, was born at Chatsworth House, Prestatyn, Flintshire, on 13 October 1941, the son of Stanley Arthur Aspinall, a dock labourer then serving as a petty officer in the Royal Navy, and his wife, Ivy, née Shaw. His mother had been evacuated to ...

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Neil Stanley Aspinall (1941–2008) by Bernard Gotfryd, 1964 [front centre, standing in for George Harrison at a rehearsal for The Ed Sullivan Show] Getty Images

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Ayrton, William (1777–1858), impresario and writer, was born in London on 24 February 1777, one of the fourteen children of Edmund Ayrton (1734–1808), composer, and his wife, Ann (1739–1800), daughter of Benjamin Clay. He was unsuccessful in winning the Gresham professorship of music in 1801; however, in 1807 he was elected a fellow of the ...

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Barnard, John (b. c. 1591), music editor and composer, was between 1618 and 1622 a lay clerk at Canterbury Cathedral, where he was also employed to teach the cathedral choristers to play the viol. When he married Marie Martin there on 7 October 1619 his age was given as 'about 28'. A son, ...

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Beale, Thomas Willert (1828–1894), impresario and composer, was born in London, the eldest of the four children of Frederick Beale (1804–1863), of the music publishing firm of Cramer, Beale, and Addison of Regent Street, and his wife, Margaret, née Betts, of Charles Street, Grosvenor Square...

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Berger, Francesco (1834–1933), music administrator, was born in London on 10 June 1834, the son of Francis Berger, a merchant from Trieste who had been naturalized a British subject, and his wife Nannette, who was Bavarian. mother and a naturalized Italian father, a merchant from ...

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Besch, Anthony John Elwyn (1924–2002), opera director, was born at 193 Chatsworth Road, Kilburn, London, on 5 February 1924, the son of Roy Cressy Frederick Besch, chartered accountant, and his wife, Annie Gwendolen, née Jones, both of 90 Fordwych Road, West Hampstead. He was educated at ...

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Bicknell, James David (1906–1988), record producer, was born on 1 September 1906 at 42 St John's Wood Road, London, the son of Gilbert Elhannan Bicknell, stockbroker, and his wife, Florence Ferrier Ross. He was educated in the high Anglican tradition of Marlborough College...

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Sir Rudolf Franz Joseph Bing (1902–1997) by Lotte Meitner-Graf ? Lotte Meitner-Graf

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Bing, Sir Rudolf Franz Joseph (1902–1997), opera manager, was born in Vienna on 9 January 1902, the son of Ernst Hoenigsvald Bing, head of the Austro-Hungarian Steel and Iron Trust, and his wife, Stefanie. The youngest of four children, he left school at the age of sixteen. He trained his attractive light baritone voice, but did not consider becoming a professional. In 1919 he obtained a job with the Viennese booksellers ...

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Bisse, Thomas (1675–1731), Church of England clergyman and founder of the Three Choirs festival, was baptized on 6 April 1675 at Oldbury on the Hill, Gloucestershire, one of two sons of John Bisse (c.1638–1686), rector of that parish, and his wife, ...

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Boosey, Leslie Arthur (1887–1979), music publisher, was born in Bromley, Kent, on 26 July 1887, the eldest of five children (three sons and two daughters) of Arthur Boosey, music publisher, and his wife, Lucy Ashton. After some years at Malvern College he chose, instead of going to a university, to work for a time in the music publishing house of ...

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W. B. Squire

revised by Anne Pimlott Baker

Bowley, Robert Kanzow (1813–1870), music administrator, was born on 13 May 1813, the son of a bootmaker at Charing Cross. He initially learned his father's trade. At an early age he joined the Benevolent Society of Musical Amateurs, and later became its conductor. He was a member of the committee of the amateur musical festival held at ...