The Kennedy Center

Maurice Greene



Biography

English composer born in London described as one of the most important British musician of his generation, influenced by Handel during the Baroque music period, he wrote skillful music in the Georgian style.
 
His father, Thomas Greene was a chaplain at the Chapel Royal and a canon of Salisbury.  He received his first musical training from Jeremiah Clarke and Charles King as a chorister at St. Pauls Cathedral.  At the age of 14 after his voice changed he was taught by Richard Brind, St. Paul's Cathedral organist.
 
In March 1714 he began his first job as an organist at St. Dunstan.  In 1717 worked as organist of St. Andrews.  In 1718 he was appoint organist at the St. Paul's Cathedral.  He married, Mary Dillingham, she and her sister kept a milliner's shop located around the corner from St. Paul's Cathedral.  He also held simultaneously positions, first as an organist at the Chapel Royal in 1727 and in 1730 he became a professor of music at Cambridge University.  In 1730 he was elected to the chair of music at the University of Cambridge and had the degree of doctor of music conferred on him.  As a professor of music at Cambridge University he greatly influenced his students.  Notable students were John Travers, William Boyce and John Stanley, his greatest student was William Boyce, later they became a close friends.  In 1735 he was appointed Master of the King's ‘Musick' music.
 
He held great admiration of Handel's talents often leading to long playing session at the Cathedral after church.  He was a founding member of the Castle Society but left after the dissolution of his friendship with Handel.  The friendship ended after allegations of plagiarisms were made against famous composer Giovanni Bononcini,  Handel rival and by the society.  Handel was annoyed that he remained his friend.  This incident led to Bononcini and Greene to creating another rival society called ‘the Apollo Academy'.  He was also part of the founding society that created a ‘Fund for the Support of Decayed Musicians and their Families' which later became known as the Royal Society of Musicians.  Their main purpose was to relieve poverty of families of deceased musicians.  Dr. Maurice Greene died on December 1, 1755 in a home in Beaufort Buildings, his final resting place is at St. Paul's, next to William Boyce.
Maurice Greene