Linley, family of English musicians:
(1) Thomas Linley Sr., English harpsichordist, concert director, singing teacher, and composer; b. Badminton, Gloucestershire, Jan. 17, 1733; d. London, Nov. 19, 1795. He began his studies with the Bath Abbey organist Thomas Chilcot; later studied with William Boyce in London. From the mid-1750s he was active as a concert director and singing teacher in Bath, and also wrote for the London stage from 1767. He was made joint director (with John Stanley) of London’s Drury Lane Theatre in 1774; then continued in that capacity (with Samuel Arnold) from 1786; was also its joint manager (with his son-in-law, the dramatist Richard Brinsley Sheridan) from 1776. With his son Thomas Linley Jr., he composed the music for Sheridan’s comic opera The Duenna, or The Double Elopement (1775). He was made a member of the Royal Soc. of Musicians in 1777. Of his 12 children, the succeeding five entries should be noted.
dramatic (all first perf. in London): The Royal Merchant, opera (Dec. 14,1767); The Duenna, or The Double Elopement, comic opera (Nov. 21,1775; in collaboration with his son Thomas Linley Jr.); Selima and Azor, comic opera (Dec. 5, 1776); The Beggar’s Opera, ballad opera (Jan. 29,1777); The Camp, musical entertainment (Oct. 15,1778); Zoraida, tragedy (Dec. 13, 1779); The Generous Imposter, comedy (Nov. 22,1780); The Gentle Shepherd, pastoral (Oct. 29, 1781); The Carnival of Venice, comic opera (Dec. 13, 1781); The Spanish Rivals, musical farce (Nov. 4, 1784); The Strangers at Home, comic opera (Dec. 8,1785); Love in the East, or Adventures of Twelve Hours (Feb. 25,1788). other: He also pubi. Six Elegies (London, 1770) and Twelve Ballads (London, 1780); 14 pieces appeared in The Posthumous Vocal Works of Mr. Linley and Mr. T Linley (London, c. 1798).
E. Green, T. L., Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Thomas Matthews: Their Connection with Bath (Bath, 1903); C. Black, The L.s of Bath (London, 1911; 3rd ed., aug., 1971).
(2) Elizabeth Ann Linley, soprano; b. Bath, Sept. 5, 1754; d. Bristol, June 28,1792. She received training from her father. After singing in concerts in Bath and Bristol, she made her debut at London’s Covent Garden in Thomas Hull’s masque The Fairy Favour in 1767. She subsequently sang in oratorios in London (1769–73) and at the Three Choirs Festival (1770–73). In 1772 she eloped with Richard Brinsley Sheridan to France, where the two were married in 1773. In subsequent years, she gave only private concerts in her home.
M. Bor and L. Clelland, Still the Lark, A Biography of E. L.(London, 1962).
(3) Thomas Linley Jr., violinist and composer; b. Bath, May 5, 1756; d. [drowned] Grimsthorpe, Aug. 5, 1778. He was a gifted child and began his music studies at an early age with his father. On July 29,1763, he made his public debut performing a violin concerto in Bristol. Following further training from Boyce in London (1763–68), he studied violin with Nardini in Florence (1768–71), where he met Mozart in 1770 and became his close friend. From 1771 Linley performed at his father’s concert presentations in Bath. From 1773 to 1778 he was concertmaster of London’s Drury Lane Theatre orch. His tragic death deprived England of one of its most promising instrumentalists and composers.
dramatic (all first perf. in London): The Duenna, or The Double Elopement, comic opera (Nov. 21,1775; in collaboration with his father); The Tempest (Jan. 4, 1777); The Cady of Bagdad, comic opera (Feb. 19, 1778). instrumental: About 20 violin concertos; violin sonatas. vocal:Let God Arise, anthem for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (Worcester Festival, Sept. 8, 1773); The Song of Moses, oratorio (London, March 12, 1777); secular choral works; songs.
M. Cooke, A Short Account of the late Mr. T. L, Junior (MS, 1812); G. Beechey, T L, Junior: His Life, Work and Times (diss., Univ. of Cambridge, 1964).
(4) Mary Linley, soprano; b. Bath, Jan. 4, 1758; d. Clifton, Bristol, July 27, 1787. she was a pupil of her father. She appeared as a concert and oratorio singer, often with her sister Elizabeth. From 1771 to 1776 she sang at the Three Choirs Festival, and also in London until her marriage in 1780.
(5) Ozias Thurston Linley, organist and clergyman; b. Bath, Aug. 1765; d. London, March 6, 1831. He studied with his father and with William Herschel, graduating from Oxford in 1789. He was active as a clergyman and also was an organist fellow at Dulwich Coll. (from 1816). Among his works were anthems and chants.
(6) William Linley, composer; b. Bath, Feb. 1771; d. London, May 6, 1835. He received training from his father and from CF. Abel. He was a civil servant in India (1790–95; 1800–07). Linley composed 2 operas, songs, and glees.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire