Boyce, William

1710-1779

English organist and dramatic composer. He was in the choir of St. Paul's Church under Charles King and later studied with Maurice Greene. He became organist of St. Michael's, Cornhill, in 1736, and the same year was appointed composer to the Chapel Royal and the King. In 1737, Boyce was chosen conductor of the musical festival held by the Three Choirs (Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford) and, in 1749, became organist of All Hallows Church. These positions he resigned in 1758 to become organist of the Chapel Royal. He was given the degree of Doctor of Music in 1749 by Cambridge. Boyce's compositions consisted of anthems and services; twelve sonatas for violin and a violin concerto; and eight symphonies; beside an oratorio, Noah; a masque for The Tempest; dirges for Romeo and Juliet and Cymbeline; a masque, Pellus and Thetis; a trio for The Winter's Tale, and Harlequin's Invasion, and also a large number of songs, duets and cantatas. Boyce's most important work was the collecting and editing of the Cathedral Music, which was published in three volumes, the first appearing in 1760 and the last in 1778. This work, which was begun by Dr. Greene, and was taken up after his death, at his request, by Boyce, was a collection in score of the most valuable English sacred compositions by eminent musicians of the last two centuries.