Festing, Michael Christian
German composer and violinist, the son of a famous flutist. He was originally a pupil of Richard Jones, the leader of the Drury Lane band, and completed his musical studies under Geminiani. Attaching himself through his agreeable manners and winning personality to members of the nobility, he received financial support to pursue his studies, and made his debut in London as a violinist in 1724, becoming leader of the King's band in 1735. He played the first violin in what was called the Philharmonic Society, consisting of noblemen who met at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand. As a performer on the violin Festing was said to have been inferior to many musicians of his time but as a composer, particularly of solos for his instrument, which he thoroughly understood, he has had but few equals. Together with Dr. Greene, of London, he established the Society of Musicians, for the support of indigent musicians. He was also musical director of Ranelagh Gardens in 1742, and five years before that had been director of the Italian Opera. Festing wrote numerous solos and concertos for violin, eighteen sonatas for two violins and bass; four symphonies concertantes for two flutes; symphonies for other stringed instruments; odes; cantatas and songs. He also composed a setting for Addison's Ode for St. Cecilia's Day; Milton's songs on May Morning, and other poems.