Thomas Linley the younger

English singer, violinist and composer (1756-1788)

Thomas Linley (born Bath, England, 5 May 1756; died Grimsthorpe, Lincs 5 Aug 1778) was an English composer and violinist. He was born in the same year as Mozart and, like Mozart, he was an astonishing child prodigy. He would almost certainly have been one of England’s greatest composers if he had not died at the age of 22.

Thomas Linley, painted by Gainsborough about 1771)

Life Edit

Thomas came from a musical family. His father, also called Thomas Linley, was a composer, singing teacher and harpsichord player. His young son was soon showing exceptional musical skills. We do not know who taught him the violin in his early years, but people writing at the time all say he was a brilliant player. He went to Italy to study the violin and composition with Nardini in Florence. He met Mozart there in 1770 and he also met Charles Burney in the same year. Burney wrote that Linley was the most promising genius of the time.

In 1771 Linley went back to England. He was the leader of the orchestra in the theatre in Drury Lane. He often played concertos between the acts of oratorios.

During the last five years of his life he composed a large amount of excellent music. Unfortunately a lot of it has been lost. Gainsborough twice painted a portrait of him.

He died in a boating accident when he was on holiday with his family in Lincolnshire.

References Edit

  • New Groves Dictionary of Music & Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie, London 1980, ISBN 1-56159-174-2

Other websites Edit