© 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