Baptized: February 16, 1709, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Died: May 9 or 10, 1770, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Buried: St. Andrew’s Church, Newgate Street, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Avison is best known as a composer and writer about music. Little is known of his early life, but he did travel to Italy to study as a young man. Upon return to England he became a student of Geminiani.
He became organist at St. John’s Church in Newcastle in 1735, and at St. Nicholas’ Church in 1736.
Two years later, he began directing concerts in Newcastle. He also gave lessons in the harpsichord, violin, and flute.
Music historians remember him for his 1752 Essay on Musical Expression, which has been described as the first work of English music criticism.
Avison was offered (and declined) positions in York, Dublin, Edinburgh, and London, spending his entire life in Newcastle.