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In a world without recorded music, talent with an instrument was a valuable gift. But even more admired were the people who actually composed the music others would play; those so endowed could aspire to attain unending renown...and if not, at least a lucrative career.
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Hubert Waelrant

aka: Hubertus
borndied
1517 ca1595
a Flemish composer, teacher, and music editor of the Renaissance. As a composer he was a member of the generation contemporary with Palestrina, though unlike the most famous composers of the time he mostly worked in northern Europe, and in addition he was progressive in the use of chromaticism and dissonance.
Links (1)


Georg Christoph Wagenseil

borndied
1715, Jan 291777, Mar 1
an Austrian composer. Wagenseil was a well-known musical figure in his day. His early works are Baroque, while his later pieces are in the Classical style. He composed a number of operas, choral works, symphonies, concertos, chamber music and keyboard pieces.
Links (1)


Richard Wagner

borndied
18131883
a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas (or, as some of his later works were later known, "music dramas"). Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Webe...
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William Vincent Wallace

borndied
18121865
an Irish composer and musician. He is mainly known as an opera composer, with key works such as Maritana (1845) and Lurline (1847/60), but he also wrote some virtuoso piano music that was much in vogue in the 19th century.
Timeline (1)Links (1)


Cross-listed in ClergyWriters

Johan Olof Wallin

bornactivedied
1779, Oct 151837-18391839, Jun 30
a Swedish minister, orator, poet and later Lutheran Church of Sweden Archbishop of Uppsala, Sweden between 1837-1839. He is most remembered today for his hymns. Besides hymns, Wallin wrote several secular poems highly praised in his time. He also published several sermons and speeches.
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William Walond Sr.

borndied
1719, Jul1768, Aug
an English composer and organist. After four years as Assistant Organist of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Walond graduated from Christ Church, Oxford in 1757. His setting of Alexander Pope's Ode on St Cecilia's Day had served as his exercise. He also published two sets of voluntaries for the organ or harpsichord (op. 1, c. 1752 and op. 2, 1758) and the an...
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Maria Antonia Walpurgis

aka: Princess of Bavaria, Electress of Saxony
borndied
17241780
a German composer, singer, harpsichordist and patron, known particularly for her operas Il trionfo della fedeltà (Dresden, summer 1754) and Talestri, regina delle amazoni (Nymphenburg Palace, February 6, 1760). She was also the Regent of Saxony in 1763-1768.
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Johann Baptist Wanhal

aka: Jan Ignatius Vanhal
borndied
17391813
an important Czech classical music composer. He was born in Nechanice, Bohemia, and died in Vienna. Wanhal had to be a prolific writer to meet the demands made upon him, and attributed to him are 100 quartets, at least 73 symphonies, 95 sacred works, and a large number of instrumental and vocal works. Many of Wanhal's symphonies are in minor keys and are con...
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John Ward [2]

borndied
15711638
an English composer, also a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral. Ward composed madrigals, works for viol consort, services, and anthems. His madrigals are remarkable for their fine texts, broad melodic lines and originality.
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Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer

borndied
16921766
a Dutch nobleman who was a diplomat, composer, and administrator. He reorganized the Bailiwick of Utrecht of the Teutonic Order. His most important surviving compositions are the Concerti Armonici, which until 1980 had been misattributed to the Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) and to Carlo Ricciotti (1681-1756).
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George James Webb

borndied
1803, Jun 241887, Oct 7
an English-American composer. Webb began his career as an organist in Falmouth, England. In 1830, he emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, where he played the organ at the Old South Church for almost 40 years. He also played the organ and belonged to the Boston Church of the New Jerusalem. He and Lowell Mason founded the Boston Academy of Music, as well as col...
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Timeline (1)Links (2)


Samuel Webbe the Elder

borndied
17401816
an English composer. Some of his motets and hymns are still sung in Catholic and Anglican churches today. Webbe also published nine books of glees, between the years 1764 and 1798, and some songs. Arguably his glees are his best claim on posterity, though his church music was particularly influential. He wrote one opera, The Speechless Wife, which pre...
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Samuel Webbe the Younger

borndied
1768, Oct 151843
the son of Samuel Webbe the Elder.


Carl Maria von Weber

borndied
17861826
a German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist and critic, one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school. A brilliant pianist himself, Weber composed four sonatas, two concertos and the Konzertstück in F minor (concert piece), which influenced composers such as more
Timeline (5)Links (1)


Thomas Weelkes

borndied
1576, Oct1623, Nov 30
an English composer and organist. He became organist of Winchester College in 1598, moving to Chichester Cathedral. His works are chiefly vocal, and include madrigals, anthems and services.
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Gaspar van Weerbeke

borndied
1445 ca1516+
a Netherlandish composer of the Renaissance. He was of the same generation as Josquin des Prez, but unique in his blending of the contemporary Italian style with the older Burgundian style of Dufay.
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Joseph Weigl

borndied
17661846
an Austrian composer and conductor, born in Eisenstadt, Hungary, Austrian Empire. He became Kapellmeister at the court theatre in Vienna in 1792, and from 1827 to 1838 was vice-Kapellmeister of the court. Weigl composed a number of operas, both Italian and German and in various genres, although most of his late works are pieces of sacred music. His best know...
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John Weldon

borndied
1676, Jan 191736, May 7
an English composer. By 1694 Weldon had been appointed organist of New College in Oxford and became well known in the musical life of that city, writing music for masques as well as performing his organist duties. Having established his reputation in London, Weldon continued for some years to write music for the theatre. John Weldon devoted the latter part o...
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Gregor Joseph Werner

borndied
1693, Jan 281766, Mar 3
an Austrian composer. Werner wrote a cappella masses in a strict contrapuntal style, as well as church music with instrumental accompaniment and symphonies. His work includes a series of twenty oratorios, all composed for performance on Good Friday, usually in the Esterházy chapel. He mostly used a bifurcated style, with most of the work taking the form of ...
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Giaches de Wert

aka: Jacques/Jaches de Wert, Giaches de Vuert
borndied
15351596, May 6
a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance, active in Italy. Intimately connected with the progressive musical center of Ferrara, he was one of the leaders in developing the style of the late Renaissance madrigal. He was one of the most influential of late sixteenth-century madrigal composers, particularly on Claudio Monteverdi, and his later music wa...
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Samuel Wesley

borndied
17661837
an English organist and composer in the late Georgian period. Wesley was a contemporary of Mozart (1756–1791) and was called by some "the English Mozart". Wesley worked as a conductor as well as a music teacher and lecturer. His output tended toward numerous keyboard works and hymn tunes. Many of his best-known compositions were written for the church.
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Samuel Sebastian Wesley

borndied
18101876
an English organist and composer. Famous in his lifetime as one of his country's leading organists and choirmasters, he composed almost exclusively for the Church of England, which continues to cherish his memory. He also wrote several rather late examples of verse anthems, which contrast unison and contrapuntal sections with smaller, more intimate passages ...
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Cross-listed in Performers

Sophia Maria Westenholz

borndied
17591838
a German composer, musician, singer and music educator. She was born into a privileged family and spent most of her life in the courts of Schwerin and Ludwigslust, capitals of the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. She studied music with Konzertmeister J. W. Hertel in Schwerin beginning at age ten and entered the court orchestra at sixteen. The court moved from ...
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Christoph Ernst Friedrich Weyse

borndied
17741842
a Danish composer during the Danish Golden Age. He was best known for his vocal works, which included numerous singspielen, Christmas carols, a setting of the Te Deum and of the Miserere, over 30 cantatas, and above all, lieder. He also composed seven symphonies and numerous pieces for solo piano.
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Robert White [1]

borndied
1538 ca1574
a catholic English composer whose liturgical music to Latin texts is considered particularly fine. His surviving works include a setting of verses from Lamentations, and instrumental music for viols.
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Cross-listed in Writers

Thomas Whythorne

borndied
15281595
an English composer who wrote what some consider to be the earliest known surviving autobiography in English. Around 1576 Whythorne collected his songs and poetry and linked them with autobiographical passages about his life and the situations which had led him to write each of the songs. The resulting book, entitled booke of songs and sonetts with longe dis...
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Johan Wikmanson

borndied
1753, Dec 281800, Jan 10
a Swedish organist and composer. As a composer, Wikmanson is remembered for his five string quartets, all published after his early death from tuberculosis in 1800. He did, however, obtain some recognition during his lifetime. In 1788, he was made a member of the Swedish Royal Academy and later was put in charge of its music program.
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John Wilbye

borndied
1574, Mar1638, Sep
an English madrigal composer. His first book of madrigals was published in London in 1598, the madrigals being described as "newly composed". Very little religious music by Wilbye survives, and even less keyboard music (one piece in Clement Matchett's Virginal Book).
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Princess Wilhelmine of Prussia

borndied
17091758
a princess of the German Kingdom of Prussia (the older sister of Frederick the Great) and composer. In addition to her other accomplishments, Wilhelmine was also a gifted composer and supporter of music. She was a lutenist, a student of Sylvius Leopold Weiss, and the employer of Bernhard Joachim Hagen. She wrote an opera, Argenore, performed in 1740 for her...
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Links (1)


Adrian Willaert

borndied
1490 ca1562
a Netherlandish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there.
Timeline (2)Links (1)


Richard Storrs Willis

borndied
18191900
an American composer, mainly of hymn music. His best known melody is probably the one called, simply, Carol. This is the standard tune, in the United States, though not in Great Britain, of the much-loved hymn "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" (1850), with lyrics by Edmund Sears. He was also a music critic and journal editor.
Links (1)


Johann Wilhelm Wilms

borndied
17721847
a Dutch-German composer, best known for setting the poem Wien Neêrlands Bloed to music, which served as the Dutch national anthem from 1815 to 1932. Wilms wrote seven symphonies, the one in F major was lost and the others sank into obscurity after his death. The chronology of the five early symphonies is not clear even to experts.
Links (1)


John Wilson [1]

borndied
1595, Apr 51674, Feb 22
an English composer, lutenist and teacher. Born in Faversham, Kent, he moved to London by 1614, where he succeeded Robert Johnson as principal composer for the King's Men, and entered the King's Musick in 1635 as a lutenist. He received the degree of D.Mus from Oxford in 1644, and he was Heather Professor of Music there from 1656 to 1661. Following the Resto...
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Peter Winter

borndied
17541825
a German opera composer who followed Mozart and preceded Weber, acting as a bridge between the two in the development of German opera. Of more than thirty operas written by Winter between 1778 and 1820 very few were unsuccessful.
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Michael Wise

borndied
16471687
an English organist and composer. He sang as a child in the choir of the Chapel Royal and served as a countertenor in St George's Chapel, Windsor, from 1666 until, in 1668, he was appointed organist and choirmaster at Salisbury Cathedral. In 1676 he became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and in the last year of his life was Master of the Children at St Paul...
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Friedrich Witt

borndied
1770, Nov 81836, Jan 3
a German composer and cellist. He is perhaps best known as the likely author of a Symphony in C major known as the Jena Symphony, once attributed to Ludwig van Beethoven.
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Franz Wohlfahrt

borndied
1833, Mar 71884, Feb 14
a violin teacher in Leipzig, Germany. Wohlfahrt was born and died in Leipzig, where his father, Heinrich Wohlfahrt, was a piano teacher. He wrote a series of etudes, 60 Studies for Violin, Op. 45, which are often among the first ones studied by beginning violinists and violists. He was a student of Ferdinand David.
Links (1)


Ernst Wilhelm Wolf

borndied
1735, Feb1792, Nov 29/30
a German composer. The most important part of Wolf's surviving oeuvre is his instrumental music. He composed at least thirty-five symphonies, of which twenty-six survive, some twenty-five harpsichord/piano concertos, more than 60 keyboard sonatas, and numerous chamber works, including string quartets, piano quintets, and other music. Stylistically these work...
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Cross-listed in Performers

Maria Carolina Wolf

borndied
17421820, Aug 2
a German pianist, singer and composer. Wolf received piano and singing lessons from her father. Maria Wolf worked in the plays as an actress and singer and with her husband composed songs with piano accompaniment.
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Joseph Wolfl

aka: Wölfl, Woelfl
borndied
17731812
an Austrian pianist and composer. His first opera, Der Höllenberg, appeared in Vienna in 1795. In England, he enjoyed commercial if not critical success. Woelfl's works have long disappeared from the concert repertory.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Artists

Robert Woodcock

borndied
1690, Oct1728, Apr 10
an English marine painter, musician, and composer who lived during the Baroque period. He is notable for having published the earliest known flute concertos, and the earliest known English oboe concertos.
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Hedda Wrangel

borndied
1792, Dec 111833, Jul 24
a a Swedish baroness and composer. She was the daughter of colonel count Gustaf Julius Lewenhaupt and Anna Helena Alströmer and married in 1810 at Karlberg Palace to the courtier Baron Henning Wrangel af Adinal.
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Paul Wranitzky

aka: Pavel Vranický
borndied
17561808
a Moravian classical composer. His half brother, Antonín Vranický, was also a composer. Wranitzky was a prolific composer. His output comprises ten operas, 44 symphonies, at least 56 string quartets (some sources give a number as high as 73) and a large amount of other orchestral and chamber music.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in WritersPerformers

Mary Ann Wrighten

borndied
17511796
an English singer, actress and composer. In 1784 Wrighten published Four Ballads, as well as being credited for a few additional songs. She also wrote an autobiography entitled An Apology for he Life and Conduct of Mrs Mary Wrighten, Late a Favourite Actress and Singer, of Drury Lane Theatre, and Vauxhall Gardens.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Writers

Caroline Wuiet

borndied
17661835
a French journalist, novelist and composer, best known for opera. Wuiet began her career as a composer and librettist at the age of eighteen with Le trompeur tromp, but was disappointed that the opera was not performed. Under the French Directory, Wuiet began composing again and enjoyed more success with sonatas. During this time, she also established...
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