Stanley, John, prominent English organist and composer; b. London, Jan. 17, 1712; d. there, May 19, 1786. Blind from early childhood, he studied organ with Maurice Greene, and soon was able to fill church positions. He composed theater music, and pubi, a number of instrumental works. He was the youngest individual ever to take the B.Mus. degree at the Univ. of Oxford in 1729. In 1779 he succeeded Boyce as Master of the King’s Band of Musicians. He enjoyed the friendship and esteem of Handel, after whose death he conducted performances of Handel’s oratorios with J.C. Smith. He especially distinguished himself as a composer of keyboard music and cantatas.
DRAMATIC: Opera: Teraminta (not perf.). Masque: The Tears and Triumphs of Parnassus (London, Nov. 17, 1760). Pastoral : Arcadia, or The Shepherd’s Wedding (London, Oct. 26, 1761). Incidental Music: to J. Hawkesworth’s Oroonoko (London, Dec. 1, 1759). Oratorios: Jephtha (c. 1751–52); Zimri (London, March 12, 1760); The Fall of Egypt (London, March 23, 1774). OTHER: Cantatas; various court odes; anthems and hymns; songs; much instrumental music.
G. Williams, The Life and Works of J. S. (1712–86) (diss., Univ. of Reading, 1977).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire