A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Russell, William

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RUSSELL, William, Mus. Bac., son of an organ builder and organist, was born in London. in 1777. He was sucessively a pupil of Cope, organist of St. Saviour's Southward, Shrubsole, organist of Spa Fields Chapel, and Groombridge, organist of Hackney and St. Stephen's, Coleman Street. In 1789 he was appointed deputy to his father as organist of St. Mary, Aldermanbury, and continued so until 1793, when he obtained the post of organist at the chapel in Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, which he held until 1798, when the chapel was disposed of to the Wesleyan body. In 1797 he became a pupil of Dr. Arnold, with whom he studied for about three years. In 1798 he was chosen organist of St. Ann's, Limehouse. In 1800 he was engaged as pianist and composer at Sadler's Wells, where he continued about four years. In 1801 he was engaged as pianist at Covent Garden and appointed organist of the Foundling Hospital Chapel. He took his Mus. Bac. degree at Oxford in 1808. He composed two oratorios, 'The Redemption of Israel' and 'Job'; an 'Ode to Music,' an 'Ode to the Genius of Handel,' Christopher Smart's 'Ode on St. Cecilia's day,' and an 'Ode to Harmony,' several glees, songs, and organ voluntaries, and about 20 dramatic pieces, chiefly spectacles and pantomimes. He edited in 1809 'Psalms, Hymns and Anthems for the Foundling Chapel.' He was much esteemed both as pianist and organist. He died Nov. 21, 1813.

[ W. H. H. ]