Welsh, Thomas (DNB00)

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WELSH, THOMAS (1781–1848), vocalist, son of John Welsh, by his wife, a daughter of Thomas Linley the elder [q. v.], was born at Wells, Somerset, in 1781. He became a chorister in Wells Cathedral, where his singing so attracted lovers of music from the neighbouring towns that ‘on the Saturdays the city hotels felt the increase of visitors, and on Sundays the church was crowded to excess.’ Sheridan heard of him, and induced Linley to engage him for the oratorio performances at the Haymarket Theatre, London, in 1796. Engagements followed for the stage, in course of which he sang in many operas, some of which, such as Attwood's ‘Prisoner,’ were written expressly to exhibit his powers. He was also brought into notice as an actor, mainly through the influence of Kemble. Meanwhile he was perfecting his musical education under Karl Friedrich Horn [see under Horn, Charles Edward], Johann Baptist Cramer [q. v.], and Baumgarten. He produced two farces at the Lyceum Theatre, and an opera, ‘Kamskatka,’ at Covent Garden, and ultimately settled down to his chief work as a teacher of singing. He had great success with his pupils, among whom were John Sinclair (1791–1857) [q. v.], Charles Edward Horn, Catherine Stephens (afterwards Countess of Essex) [q. v.], and Mary Anne Wilson, who became his wife, and sang in many important concerts. He died at Brighton on 24 Jan. 1848. In addition to the dramatic pieces mentioned, he wrote some sonatas for piano (1819), songs, part-songs, glees and duets, and a ‘Vocal Instructor,’ London [1825].

[Gent. Mag. 1848, i. 554; Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 1824; Grove's Dict. of Music; Brown and Stratton's British Musical Biography; information from a grand-nephew, C. P. Welsh, esq., of Wells.]

J. C. H.