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Musical life in Britain

William Byrd
English organist and
composer of the
Shakespearean age who is
best known for his
development of the
English madrigal. He also
wrote virginal and organ mus
ic that elevated the
English keyboard style.
Thomas Tallis
was an English composer who occupies a
primary place in anthologies of English
choral music. He is considered one of
England's greatest composers, and he is
honoured for his original voice in
English musicianship. No contemporaneous
portrait of Tallis survives; the one painted by
Gerard Vandergucht dates from 150 years
after Tallis died, and there is no reason to
suppose that it is a fair likeness. In a rare
existing copy of his blackletter signature, he
spelled his name «Tallys».
Orlando Gibbons
was an
English composer, virginalist and organist
who was one of the last masters of
the English Madrigal School. By the 1610s
he was the leading composer and organist
in England, with a career cut short by his
sudden death in 1625. As a
result, Gibbons's oeuvre was not as large
as that of his contemporaries, like the
elder William Byrd but his compositional
versatility led to him having written
significant works in virtually every form of
his day. He is often seen as a transitional
figure from the Renaissance to the Baroque
Henry Purcell
was an English composer. Although it
incorporated Italian and French stylisti
c elements, Purcell's was a uniquely
English form of Baroque music. He is
generally considered to be one of the
greatest English composers; no later
native-born English composer
approached his fame until Edward
Elgar, Ralph Vaughan
Williams, William
Walton and Benjamin Britten in the
20th century.
John Gay
was an
English poet and dramatist and
member of the Scriblerus
Club. He is best remembered
for The Beggar's Opera"
(1728), ballad opera. The
characters, including Captain
Macheath and Polly Peachum,
became household names
W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan
Gilbert was an English dramatist, poet and illustrator best known for his
collaboration with composer Arthur Sullivan, which produced fourteen comic
operas. The most famous of these include H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of
Penzance and one of the most frequently performed works in the history of
musical theatre, The Mikado.
Gustav Holst
was an English composer,
arranger and teacher. Best
known for his orchestral suite
The Planets, he composed
many other works across a
range of genres, although none
achieved comparable success.
His distinctive compositional
style was the product of many
influences, Richard Wagner and
Richard Strauss being most
Edward Elgar
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
John Taverner
was an English composer and
organist, regarded as one of the
most important English composers of
his era. Nothing is known of
Taverner's activities before 1524.
Most of Taverner's music is vocal,
and includes masses. The bulk of his
output is thought to date from the
1520s. One of his best-known
masses is based on a popular song
called The Western Wynde.
Vaughan Williams
was an English composer. His works
include operas, ballets, chamber
music, secular and religious vocal
pieces and orchestral compositions
including nine symphonies, written
over sixty years. Strongly influenced
by Tudor music and English folksong, his output marked a decisive
break in British music from its
German-dominated style of the 19th
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
was a British composer and conductor, who
in 2004 was made Master of the Queen's
As a student at both the University of
Manchester and the Royal Manchester
College of Music, Davies formed a group
dedicated to contemporary music called the
New Music Manchester with fellow students
Harrison Birtwistle, Alexander Goehr, Elgar
Howarth and John Ogdon. Davies’s
compositions include eight works for the
stage—from the monodrama Eight Songs
for a Mad King, which shocked the
audience in 1969, to Kommilitonen!, first
performed in 2011—and ten symphonies,
written between 1973 and 2013.
Edward Benjamin Britten
was an English composer, conductor, and
He was a central figure of 20th-century British
music, with a range of works including opera,
other vocal music, orchestral and chamber
pieces. His best-known works include the opera
Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962)
and the orchestral showpiece The Young
Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945).
Born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, the son of a dentist,
Britten showed talent from an early age. He
studied at the Royal College of Music in London
and privately with the composer Frank Bridge.
Sir Noël Peirce Coward
was an English playwright, composer,
director, actor and singer, known for his wit,
flamboyance, and what Time magazine
called "a sense of personal style, a
combination of cheek and chic, pose and
poise". Coward achieved enduring success
as a playwright, publishing more than 50
plays from his teens onwards. He
composed hundreds of songs, in addition to
well over a dozen musical theatre works
(including the operetta Bitter Sweet and
comic revues), screenplays, poetry, several
volumes of short stories, the novel Pomp
and Circumstance, and a three-volume
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Baron Lloyd-Webber is an English
composer and impresario of musical
theatre. Several of his musicals have run
for more than a decade both in the West
End and on Broadway. He has composed
21 musicals, a song cycle, a set of
variations, two film scores, and a Latin
Requiem Mass. Several of his songs have
been widely recorded and were successful
outside of their parent musicals. In 2001
The New York Times referred to him as "the
most commercially successful composer in
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The London Philharmonic Orchestra is
one of the world's finest symphony
orchestras, balancing a long and
distinguished history with a reputation
as one of the UK's most adventurous
and forward-looking orchestras.
The Orchestra was founded by Sir
Thomas Beecham in 1932, and since
then has been headed by many of the
great names. The Orchestra's current
Principal Conductor is Vladimir
Jurowski, appointed in 2007.
The Halle
The Hallé is an English symphony
orchestra based in Manchester,
England. It supports a choir, youth
choir, youth training choir, children's
choir and a youth orchestra, and
releases its recordings on its own
record label.
Since 1996 the orchestra has been
resident at the Bridgewater Hall in
London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1904, is the oldest of London's
symphony orchestras. It was set up by a group of players who left Henry Wood's
Queen's Hall Orchestra because of a new rule requiring players to give the
orchestra their exclusive services.
The Royal Choral Society
is an amateur choir, based in London.
Formed soon after the opening of
the Royal Albert Hall in 1871, the choir
gave its first performance as the Royal
Albert Hall Choral Society on 8 May 1872
– the choir's first conductor Charles
Gounod included the Hallelujah
Chorus from Messiah in the inaugural
concert. On 9 July 1891, the Royal Choral
Society performed in a 'Grand Concert for
the Visit of Their Imperial Majesties, The
German Emperor and Empress', also
attended by the Prince of Wales and the
Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. The
choir continued to be conducted by the
most eminent musicians of the day, most
notably Sir Malcolm Sargent, whose
association with the choir spanned forty
years. The present Music Director, Richard
Cooke, took over the baton in 1995.
The Bach Choir
is a large independent musical
organisation founded in London,
England in 1876 to give the first
performance of J. S. Bach's
Mass in B minor.
The choir has around 220 active
members. Directed by David Hill,
one of the country's most
eminent choral directors, it
regularly performs and records
across London and the UK,
including at the Royal Albert
Hall and Abbey Road Studios.
The choir's patron is The Prince
of Wales.
The Beatles
were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up
comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, are regarded as
the most influential band of all time. They were integral to the development of 1960s
counterculture and popular music's recognition as an art form. Rooted in skiffle, beat and
1950s rock and roll, their sound incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop
in innovative ways; the band later explored music styles ranging from ballads and Indian
music to psychedelia and hard rock. As pioneers in recording, songwriting and artistic
presentation, the Beatles revolutionised many aspects of the music industry and were often
publicised as leaders of the era's youth and sociocultural movements.
The Who
are an English rock band
formed in London in 1964. Their
classic line-up consisted of lead
singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist
and singer Pete Townshend,
bass guitarist and singer John
Entwistle and drummer Keith
Moon. They are considered one
of the most influential rock
bands of the 20th century and
have sold over 100 million
records worldwide.
Led Zeppelin
were an English rock band formed in
London in 1968. The group consisted
of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist
Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist
John Paul Jones, and drummer John
Bonham. With their heavy, guitardriven sound, they are regularly cited
as one of the progenitors of heavy
metal, although their style drew from
a variety of influences, including
blues and folk music. Many critics
consider Led Zeppelin one of the
most successful, innovative, and
influential rock groups in history.Led
Zeppelin are one of the best-selling
music artists of all time; various
sources estimate the group's record
sales at 200 to 300 million units
Pink Floyd
were an English rock band formed in
London in 1965. Gaining a following as
a psychedelic pop group, they were
distinguished for their extended
compositions, sonic experimentation,
philosophical lyrics and elaborate live
shows, and became a leading band of
the progressive rock genre. Pink Floyd
were one of the first British psychedelia
groups, and are credited with
influencing genres such as neoprogressive rock and ambient music. It
was founded by Roger Waters and Nick
Mason who met while studying
architecture at the London Polytechnic
at Regent Street.
Pet Shop Boys
are an English synth-pop duo, formed in London in
1981 and consisting of Neil Tennant and Chris
Pet Shop Boys have sold more than 100 million
records worldwide, better source needed and
were listed as the most successful duo in UK
music history in the 1999 edition of The Guinness
Book of Records. They created the best dace
Arctic Monkeys
are an English rock band formed in
Sheffield in 2002. The group consists of
Alex Turner (lead vocals, guitar,
keyboards), Jamie Cook (guitar,
keyboards), Nick O'Malley (bass guitar,
backing vocals), and Matt Helders (drums,
backing vocals). Former band member
Andy Nicholson (bass guitar, backing
vocals) left the band in 2006 shortly after
their debut album was released.
Arctic Monkeys were heralded as one of
the first bands to come to public attention
via the Internet, with commentators
suggesting they represented the possibility
of a change in the way in which new bands
are promoted and marketed.