Barnby, Sir Joseph


English organist, conductor and composer. Showed great talent for music early. Sang in the choir of York Minster when seven, began teaching at ten, was an organist at twelve and music master at a school at fourteen. At sixteen he entered the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied for two years, after which he was organist, successively, of a number of different churches. In 1867, Barnby's Choir was established. This choir gave oratorio concerts from 1869 to 1872, when it was united with Gounod's Choir, under the name of the Royal Albert Hall Choral Society. It is now known as the Royal Choral Society. From 1875 to 1892 Barnby was precentor of Eton, in which position he had great influence on the musical education and taste of the upper classes. He conducted the London Musical Society from 1878 to 1886, and the Royal Academy of Music concerts from 1886 to 1888. In 1892 he was elected principal of the Guildhall School of Music. For fifteen years, from 1861 to 1876, Barnby was musical adviser to the music-publishing firm of Novello. In 1892, he was knighted and in the same year he conducted the Cardiff Festival. Barnby's compositions consist of an oratorio, Rebekah; a psalm, The Lord is King; a large number of services, anthems, part-songs, pieces for the organ, many songs and two hundred and fifty hymns. Barnby's beautiful arrangement of Sweet and Low is well known and is a great favorite. He introduced more new and great musical works to the English people than any other musician.