Composers' Biographies A-L:

Edward Cuthbert Bairstow

English organist and composer in the Anglican church music and was born in Huddersfield in 1874. He studied organ with John Farmer at Balliol College, Oxford, and while articled under Frederick Bridge of Westminster Abbey received tuition from Walter Alcock. He studied organ and theory at the University of Durham, receiving the Bachelor of Music in 1894, and the Doctor of Music in 1901.
After holding posts in London, Wigan and Leeds, he served as organist of York Minster from 1913 to his death, when he was succeeded by his former pupil Francis Jackson.
Notorious for his terseness and bluntness, Bairstow did not always endear himself to others. Asked whether he would be willing to follow the example of his predecessor at York, Thomas Tertius Noble, and go to the United States, he replied that he would "rather go to the devil". Comfortably ensconced in Yorkshire, where he was a close friend of the equally blunt Dr Moody, Organist at Ripon Cathedral, he refused the offer to succeed Frederick Bridge at Westminster Abbey. He instead recommended his erstwhile pupil Ernest Bullock, who was duly appointed to the post. He died in 1946.

E. Bairstow
Henry Rowley Bishop

Henry Rowley Bishop

Born in London in 1786 and died there in 1855. He was a famous London opera conductor and composer, and Professor of Music successively at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford. One song from an opera of his is universally known, ‘Home, sweet home’, as are a few of his many glees and part-songs. Queen Victoria, in 1842, dubbed him knight, this being the first occasion upon which a British monarch had so honoured any musician.

J. Brahms

Johannes Brahms

Born at Hamburg in 1833, and died in Vienna in 1897. His work , whilst largely couched in classical forms, is romantic in temper and, indeed, of the most pronounced type of 19th century German romanticism. He was the son of a humble double-bass player in the theatres of Hamburg. At the hands of a local teacher he received a thorough training, meantime supporting himself by playing in café's and dancing-halls. At twenty he toured with a Jew-Hungarian violinist, Reményi, and came to the notice of Joachim and of Liszt, who helped him forward.

For four years Brahms held a position at a German court; then he lived for a year or two in Switzerland, finally settling in Vienna, where the last 35 years of his life were passed.

In charracter he was honest and sincere, and in manners plain-spoken and often rough. He never maried, and to him Art was Life.
He was a confirmed bachelor, very simple in his habits and frugal in his tastes. When in later years he became affluent he did not change his mode of life, but remained, as he began, a lodger in furnished rooms.

He is seen above in his bedroom in the Carlgasse, Vienna, having brewed his early morning coffee, which daily rite took place at about 5 a.m. He always prepared his own brew, as nobody else would make it strong enough. The coffee-machine and cup are the actual ones he used. With his strong coffee he would smoke an equally strong cigar, to be followed by many others throughout the day.


Edward Elgar

Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. He also composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924.

Although Elgar is often regarded as a typically English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe. He felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially. In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer; in Protestant Britain, his Catholicism was regarded with suspicion in some quarters; and in the class-conscious society of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he was acutely sensitive about his humble origins even after he achieved recognition.

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Franz Joseph Haydn

Born 31 March 1732 and died 31 May 1809, was an Austrian, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms. He was also instrumental in the development of the piano trio and in the evolution of sonata form.

A lifelong resident of Austria, Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family on their remote estate. Isolated from other composers and trends in music until the later part of his long life, he was, as he put it, "forced to become original". At the time of his death, he was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe.


Morten Johannes Lauridsen

Born February 27, 1943, is an American. A National Medal of Arts recipient (2007),he was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (1994–2001) and has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 40 years.



Johann Carl Gottfried Löwe

(His name is usually written Loewe in English), Born: November 30, 1796 - Löbejün, Germany and died: April 20, 1869 - Kiel, Germany , was also a baritone singer and conductor. In his lifetime, his songs were well enough known for some to call him the "Schubert of North Germany", and Hugo Wolf came to admire his work. He is lesser known today, but a number of his 400 or so songs are still occasionally performed.
Carl Loewe received his first music lessons from his father. He was a choir-boy, first at Köthen, and later at Halle, where he went to grammar school. The beauty of Lowe's voice brought him under the notice of Madame de Stal, who procured him a pension from Jerome Bonaparte, then king of Westphalia, which enabled him to further his education in music, and to study theology at Halle University. This ended in 1813, on the flight of the king.

In 1820, Carl Loewe moved to Stettin (Szczecin), where he worked as organist and music director of the school. It was while there that he did most of his work as a composer, setting a version of Goethe's Erlkönig in 1824 which some say rivals Schubert's far more famous version. He went on to set many other poets' work, including Friedrich Rückert, and translations of William Shakespeare and Lord Byron. He also wrote a number of operas, oratorios and instrumental works.

In 1821 Carl Loewe married Julie von Jacob, who died in 1823. His second wife, Auguste Lange, was an accomplished singer, and they appeared together in his oratorio performances with great success.
Later in life, Carl Loewe became very popular both as a composer and as a singer, and he made several tours as a singer in the 1840's and 1850's, visiting England, France, Sweden and Norway amongst other countries. He eventually moved back to Germany, and, after quitting his posts in Stettin after 46 years, moved to Kiel, where he died from a stroke on April 20, 1869.

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