Thomas Linley, Jr, was considered to be one of the most virtuosic young composers to have come from England. Known as the “English Mozart”. Linley, Jr., began giving acclaimed public performances from the age of 7. Not only did Thomas play a wide range of instruments and compose, but he was also a singer and performer. One of his most notable performances came form a production of The Fairy Favour at Covent Garden in 1767, in which he sang, played violin, and danced with a hornpipe.
While studying violin in Italy in 1770, Linley, Jr,. met Mozart and became close friends. Both 14 years old, they studied and performed together throughout Italy. Linley, Jr., returned to England in 1773 and performed in many concerts and oratorios directed by his father, Thomas Linley, Sr., at Drury Lane.
During the Drury Lane Fire in 1809, many of Linley, Jr.’s compositions were lost. His most famous surviving work is the comic opera, The Duenna, which was written by his brother-in-law Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Other surviving works include Ode on the Spirits of Shakespeare, The Song of Moses, and Let God Arise.
Thomas Linley, Jr, died at the age of 22 after drowning in a boating accident while visiting his sister Mary in Lincolnshire. Mozart was quoted as saying “Linley was a true genius; and he felt that, had he lived, he would have been one of the greatest ornaments of the musical world”.
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