Bishop, Sir Henry Rowley


English dramatic composer. Born in London. He began composing at a very early age and studied under the noted Francesco Bianchi. At the age of eighteen he wrote the music to Angelina and a little later the music for the ballet Tamerlan et Bajazet, but was first brought into notice by his opera, The Circassian Bride, produced at the Drury Lane Theatre in 1809. The night after the performance, the theatre burned and with it the score of the opera, but it had been so well received that, in 1810, the position of musical director at Covent Garden Theatre was offered to Bishop. The position was accepted and the engagement was twice renewed, lasting until 1823. In 1813 Bishop helped to found the Philharmonic Society, and took his turn as conductor, and in 1819, with Mr. Harris, he undertook the direction of the oratorios. The second season, in 1820, he carried them on alone, but gave them up the next year and returned to opera in 1825, by becoming conductor at the Drury Lane Theatre. In 1830 he became musical director at Vauxhall Gardens and in 1840 to 1841 was again musical director at Covent Garden. At this time he composed The Fortunate Isles, to celebrate Queen Victoria's wedding. From 1841 to 1843 he was professor of music in Edinburgh University; in 1842 he was knighted, and, in 1848, was made professor of music in Oxford University, from which he had received the degree of Bachelor of Music, in 1839, and which gave him the degree of Doctor of Music in 1853. Bishop produced in all over one hundred and twenty-five operas, operettas, burlettas, ballets and other musical pieces. More than two-thirds of these were entirely his own, the others being adaptations from other composers and works written in collaboration with other musicians. Beside the operas already mentioned some of his best known works are The Virgin of the Sun; The Knight of Snowdoun; The Miller and his Men; The Law of Java; Clari; Maid Marian; Cortez; Guy Mannering; and The Slave. He also wrote an oratorio, The Fallen Angel; a cantata, The Seventh Day; and music for three tragedies, The Apostate, Retribution, and Mirandola; beside arranging the first volume of Melodies of various nations and arranging and writing accompaniments for three volumes of National melodies. He also edited The Messiah; a large collection of Handel's songs, and many other important works.