Banister, John

1630-1679

English violinist and composer. Banister's father was one of the "waits," and he himself followed that profession in his early days. Under the instruction of his father, he attained such proficiency on the violin as to attract the attention of the King, Charles II., who sent him to France to advance his education, and, on his return, appointed him leader of the royal band. In 1672 Banister started a series of concerts at his own house, and established the first lucrative concerts given in London. These concerts were continued up to a short time before his death. Banister wrote a number of short pieces for the violin and wrote also for the lute; some vocal compositions; and in connection with the great lute-player, Pelham Humphrey, wrote music to The Tempest. His music to the tragedy of Circe is his most important composition. Banister was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey.