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William Horsley

Born: 15-Nov-1774
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 12-Jun-1858
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Composer

Nationality: England
Executive summary: English composer of glees

English musician, born on the 15th of November 1774. He became in 1790 the pupil of Theodore Smith, an indifferent musician of the time, who, however, taught him sufficient to obtain in 1794 the position of organist at Ely Chapel, Holborn. This post he resigned in 1798, to become organist at the Asylum for Female Orphans, as assistant to Dr. Callcott, with whom he had long been on terms of personal and artistic intimacy, and whose eldest daughter he married. In 1802 he became his friend's successor upon the latter's resignation. Besides holding this appointment he became in 1812 organist of Belgrave Chapel, Halkin Street and in 1838 of the Charter House. He died on the 12th of June 1858. Horsley's compositions are numerous, and include amongst other instrumental pieces three symphonies for full orchestra. Infinitely more important are his glees, of which he published five books (1801-07) besides contributing many detached glees and part songs to various collections. His glees, "By Celia's arbour", "O nightingale", "Now the storm begins to lower", and others, are amongst the finest specimens of this peculiarly English class of compositions. Horsley's son Charles Edward, also enjoyed a certain reputation as a musician. He studied in Germany under Hauptmann and Mendelssohn, and on his return to England composed several oratorios and other pieces, none of which had permanent success. In 1868 he emigrated to Australia, and in 1872 went to America; he died in New York.

Son: John Callcott Horsley (painter)
Son: Charles Edward Horsley (composer, b. 1822, d. 1876)


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