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William Boyce

William Boyce

(1711 - 1779)

William Boyce (September 11, 1711 - February 7, 1779) was an composer and organist widely regarded as one of the most important English-born composers of the 18th century. He is best known for his set of eight symphonies (1737-56, published as Op. 2), his anthems and his celebratory odes.

Born in London, Boyce began his musical career as a choirboy at St. Paul's Cathedral and eventually attained the positions of Master of the King's Musick in 1755 and organist at the Chapel Royal in 1758.

Like Beethoven, Boyce suffered from increasing deafness in his later years. When he was no longer able to continue in his duties as organist, he turned his energies to completing a compilation of English Cathedral Music begun by his mentor, Maurice Greene. Boyce's edition includes works by William Byrd and Henry Purcell, among others, and many are still used in Anglican services.

Recommended Recordings


Archiv 419631-2
8 Symphonies, Op. 2/Archiv 419631-2
Trevor Pinnock/The English Concert
8 Symphonies, Op. 2/Nimbus NI5345
William Boughton/English String Orchestra
8 Symphonies, Op. 2/Decca 473081-2
Christopher Hogwood/Academy of Ancient Music
8 Symphonies, Op. 2/Arte Nova 74321-34032-2
Ross Pople/London Festival Orchestra