The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Sir Joseph Barnby

Sir Joseph Barnby

A cabinet card portrait of the English musical composer and conductor Sir Joseph Barnby (1838-1896).

Born at York on 12 August 1838, his father Thomas Barnaby was an organist. Joseph became a chorister at York Minster at the age of seven and was later educated at the Royal Academy of Music. In 1862 he was appointed organist of St Andrew’s, Wells Street, in London, where the raised the services to a high degree of musical excellence.

From 1864, he was conductor of ‘Barnby's Choir’ and in 1871 he was appointed, in succession to Charles Gounod, conductor of the Royal Albert Hall Choral Society, a post he held till his death. In 1875 he was precentor and director of music at Eton College, and in 1892 became principal of the Guildhall School of Music. He was knighted the same year. His works include an oratorio, many services and anthems, and 246 hymn tunes (published in 1897 in one volume), as well as some partsongs and some pieces for the pipe organ.

He was largely instrumental in stimulating the love for Gounod’s sacred music among the less educated part of the London public, although he displayed little practical sympathy with opera. However, he organised a remarkable concert performance of Parsifal at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1884. He conducted the Cardiff Festivals of 1892 and 1895. He died in London on 28 January 1896 and, after a special service in St Paul's Cathedral, was buried in West Norwood Cemetery.

Photographed by W.H. Fry of Brighton.


Code: 125483
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