© 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. Eaton
  20. Eton
  21. Eton Col­lege
  22. Flensburg
  23. Galilean
  24. Genoa
  25. Golden Chain
  26. Good Shep­herd
  27. Holy Tri­ni­ty
  28. Horeb
  29. Irae
  30. Isaiah
  31. Jordan
  32. Joseph
  33. Joy and Light
  34. Kennebunkport
  35. Last Sleep, The
  36. Litlington Tow­er
  37. Laudes Do­mi­ni
  38. Longwood
  39. Mansfield
  40. Merrial
  41. Monsell
  42. Nightfall
  43. Nomen Ter­sanc­tum
  44. O Voice
  45. Perfect Love
  46. Power
  47. Roseate Hues
  48. Sarum
  49. Sheltering Wing
  50. Sinai
  51. Soho
  52. St. An­selm
  53. St. An­drew
  54. St. Bo­ni­face
  55. St. Fa­bi­an
  56. St. Hil­da
  57. St. Ig­na­ti­us
  58. St. Ol­ave
  59. St. Sav­iour
  60. Stand Up
  61. Stanley
  62. Story of the Shep­herd
  63. Sunset
  64. Swanland
  65. Via Pa­cis
  66. Victim Di­vine
  67. We March to Vic­to­ry
  68. Winter Cold
  69. Winterton
  70. Woodleigh