The Kennedy Center

Thomas Linley, Jr.



Biography

Thomas Linley (Jr.), also called the younger was an English composer and violinist.  He was born at the Abbey Green, Bath on 7th May 1756 and he was baptized at St. James's Church, Bath on 11th June.  He was son of the composer, harpsichordist and singing teacher Thomas Linley Sr. and his wife Mary.  His whole family was talented musically.  He was a child prodigy and was the only member of his family to play the violin.  He learned to play the violin from John Richards a prominent soloist and orchestral leader in Bath.  His first known concert cites a Master Linley, a child of seven to perform at Loggan's Room at the Hot Wells in 1763.  That same year the seven year old began musical studies with William Boyce.  At the age of 10 years old he appeared at the Covent Garden Opera House with his sister Elizabeth Ann.  He played the part of Puck in the Masque The Fairy Favour, written by Thomas Hull.  His singing, violin playing and dancing were such exceptional talents for a child.  By 1768 at the age of 12 he moved to Florence Italy to study under famous violinist Pietro Nardini.  While there he met Mozart and they became friends.  He was called the  'English Mozart or little Mozart' because of his friendship with Mozart.
 
On his return to Bath, England in 1771 at the age of 15, he became the leader of the orchestra and at Drury Lane, where he played concertos between the acts of oratorios.  In 1773 he performed his first major work Let God Arise, to great success.  His demand as a violinist garnered him much work.  It was around this time that he wrote such noteworthy compositions as the Song of Moses, the Tempest and Sheridan's the Duenna
 
Tragedy struck on a family trip with his sisters to Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire as the guests of the Duke of Ancaster and his family.  He went boating on the lake with two friends during a storm and the boat overturned.  At the age of 22 he drowned whilst attempting to swim ashore.  He was buried on 11th August 1778 at Edenham Parish Church.  He was survived by his siblings and parents.  
Thomas Linley, Jr.