© National Portrait Gallery

Au­gust 12, 1838, York, Eng­land.

Jan­u­a­ry 28, 1896, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Nor­wood Ce­me­te­ry, Lon­don, Eng­land.


Barnby was a com­pos­er, con­duc­tor and (like his fa­ther Tho­mas) an or­ganist. He en­tered the choir of York Min­ster at age se­ven, and was an or­gan­ist and choir­mas­ter at twelve.

In 1854 he went to Lon­don and en­tered the Roy­al Acad­e­my of Mu­sic, where he stu­died under Ci­pri­a­ni Pot­ter and Charles Lu­cas. In 1856, he com­pet­ed for the first Men­dels­sohn Schol­ar­ship. When the ex­am­in­a­tions were ov­er, of the nine­teen ap­pli­cants, he was tied for first place with Ar­thur Sul­li­van. Af­ter a sec­ond test, Sul­li­van won.

Barnby was or­gan­ist at Mitch­am, St. Mi­chael’s, Queen­hithe, and St. James’ the Less, West­min­ster, be­fore he was ap­point­ed to St. An­drew’s, Wells Street, where he stayed 1863–71, es­tab­lish­ing the mu­sic­al re­pu­tation of the ser­vic­es. From 1871–86 he was or­gan­ist at St. Anne’s, So­ho, where he in­sti­tut­ed the an­n­ual per­for­manc­es of Bach’s Pass­ion Mu­sic ac­cord­ing to St. John, with or­che­stral ac­com­pa­ni­ment.

In 1867, Messrs. No­vel­lo, to whom he had been mu­sic­al ad­vis­er since 1861, es­tab­lished Barn­by’s Choir, which gave or­a­tor­io con­certs 1869–72, when it was amal­ga­mat­ed with the choir formed and con­duct­ed by M. Gou­nod at the Roy­al Al­bert Hall, under the ti­tle of the Roy­al Al­bert Hall Cho­ral So­ci­e­ty (now the Roy­al Cho­ral So­ci­e­ty). The same pub­lish­ing firm al­so gave da­ily con­certs in the Al­bert Hall, 1874–75, which Barn­by or­ches­trat­ed.

Barnby con­duct­ed the St. Mat­thew Pas­sion in West­min­ster Ab­bey in 1871. He was ap­point­ed pre­cen­tor of Eton in 1875, a post he kept un­til 1892, when he suc­ceed­ed Tho­mas Weist-Hill as prin­ci­pal of the Guild­hall School of Mu­sic.

In 1878, Barn­by mar­ried Ed­ith Ma­ry Sil­ver­thorne. Al­so that year, he helped found the Lon­don Mu­sic­al So­ci­e­ty, be­com­ing its first di­rec­tor and con­duc­tor. Un­der his ba­ton, the So­ci­ety pr­oduced Dvor­ak’s St­abat Ma­ter for the first time in Eng­land.

In 1884, Barn­by con­duct­ed the first per­for­mance in Eng­land of Wag­ner’s Par­si­fal as a con­cert in the Al­bert Hall. From 1886–68 he con­duct­ed re­hear­sals and co­ncerts of the Royal Acad­e­my of Mu­sic, of which he was a fel­low.

Barnby was knight­ed in 1892, and the same year con­duct­ed the Car­diff Fes­tiv­al. He con­duct­ed the fes­ti­val again in 1895.

Barnby’s com­po­si­tions in­clude an or­a­tor­io (Re­be­kah, 1870), a psalm (The Lord Is King, Leeds Fes­ti­val, 1893), an enor­mous num­ber of ser­vic­es and an­thems, part songs and vo­cal so­lo, tri­os, etc. He al­so wrote a ser­ies of Eton Songs, 246 hymn tunes (pub­lished in one vol­ume in 1897), and ed­it­ed five hym­nals, the most im­port­ant of which was The Hym­na­ry (1872).

Biography courtesy of Tho­mas and Mary Barn­by Hedg­es.

  1. Abba
  2. Adoro Te
  3. Alverstoke
  4. Barnby
  5. Birkdale
  6. Burleigh
  7. Carlton
  8. Cheshunt College
  9. Children’s Praise
  10. Chimney Rock
  11. Chiselhurst
  12. Cloisters
  13. Covenant
  14. Crossing the Bar
  15. Crucis Umbra
  16. Diadema
  17. Dunstan
  18. Emmaus
  19. Eton
  20. Eton College
  21. Flensburg
  22. Galilean
  23. Genoa
  24. Golden Chain
  25. Good Shepherd
  26. Holy Trinity
  27. Horeb
  28. Irae
  29. Isaiah
  30. Jordan
  31. Joseph
  32. Joy and Light
  33. Kennebunkport
  34. Last Sleep, The
  35. Litlington Tower
  36. Laudes Domini
  37. Longwood
  38. Mansfield
  39. Merrial
  40. Monsell
  41. Nightfall
  42. Nomen Tersanctum
  43. O Voice
  44. Perfect Love
  45. Power
  46. Roseate Hues
  47. Sarum
  48. Sheltering Wing
  49. Sinai
  50. Soho
  51. St. Anselm
  52. St. Andrew
  53. St. Boniface
  54. St. Fabian
  55. St. Hilda
  56. St. Ignatius
  57. St. Olave
  58. St. Saviour
  59. Stand Up
  60. Stanley
  61. Story of the Shepherd
  62. Sunset
  63. Swanland
  64. Via Pacis
  65. Victim Divine
  66. We March to Victory
  67. Winter Cold
  68. Winterton
  69. Woodleigh