Thomas Linley was an English bass and musician, who mostly worked in Bath, Somerset. Originally born in Gloucestershire, his family moved to Bath when Linley was 11. Linley served as an apprentice to the Bath Abbey organist, where he studied organ and harpsichord as he assisted pumping the organ for Thomas Chilcot, the resident organist.
Marrying Mary Johnson in May 1752, the couple used their musical ability to support their growing family. Both worked as music teachers and cultivated their children’s musical talents. They had eight children and made most of their income from concerts featuring their children. Most went on to have notable careers in music and theatre. Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth Ann, married Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Their eldest son, Thomas, was a notable composer and violinist. Many of the other children were notable singers and the family was given the title of “a Nest of Nightingales”.
Linley became the Musical Director of the Bath Assembly Rooms in 1771 and in 1774, became the composer in residence for the Drury Lane Theatre, Linley was known as one of the most famous English music theatres. He collaborated on the comic opera, The Duenna, along with his son Thomas Linley, Jr. It was performed 75 times at Drury Lane and was hailed as “the best opera ever written” by Lord Byron.
Thomas Linley, Sr, died suddenly on November 19, 1795, in his home in Westminster at the age of 62.
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