John Stanley

The precocious English composer, organist and violinist Charles John Stanley was born in London on 17 January 1712. He became nearly blind as a result of an accident when he was about two years old and subsequently developed a very advanced musical memory, being able to memorise music on one hearing.

He studied music from the age of seven, guided by composer and organist Maurice Greene. He began playing the organ for services at All Hallows, Bread Street at nine, at eleven he became the church's titular organist and at fourteen became organist at St Andrews, Holborn. When he was seventeen he graduated in music at Oxford University - the youngest person ever to do this.

Admired for his organ playing by George Frideric Handel and many others, John Stanley directed performances of Handel cantatas, directed the annual performances of Messiah at London's Foundling Hospital and became Master of the King's Band of musicians.

Stanley's output as a composer included organ voluntaries, chamber music and several oratorios.

For most of John Stanley's life he was organist at Temple Church, from 1734 until his death on 19 May 1786, aged seventy-four, at his home in Hatton Garden, London.


A selection of articles about John Stanley

Spotlight. Sumptuously Fragile Sounds - Gerald Fenech joyously recommends keyboard music from Handel's home in London. 'Technically flawless performances ...'

Ensemble. Superb and Imaginative Playing - Roderic Dunnett marks Thomas Trotter's forty years as Birmingham City Organist by reviewing a special anniversary recital and investigating the artist's large output on the Regent Records label

CD Spotlight. Top-Notch - The Dobson organ at Merton College, praised by Gerald Fenech

Highly Effective - Peter Gould helps celebrate the seventieth anniversary of Derby Cathedral's Compton Organ, as noted by Mike Wheeler

Lucid Messiaen - Cathy Lamb at the organ, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Glowingly Realised - Robert Manning, David Johnson and Tom Corfield share an organ recital at Derby Cathedral, appreciated by Mike Wheeler