Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Carnaby, William

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CARNABY, WILLIAM (1772–1839), musical composer, was born in London in 1772 and educated in the Chapel Royal as a chorister under Dr. Nares and Dr. Ayrton. He was subsequently organist of Eye and of Huntingdon. In 1805 he took the degree of Mus. Doc. at Cambridge, where he entered at Trinity Hall. In July 1808 he proceeded Mus. Doc., on which occasion his exercise, described as 'a grand musical piece,' was performed at Great St. Mary's on Sunday, the 7th. Previous to this he had left Huntingdon and settled in London, where he lived at various times at 18 Winchester Row and 31 Red Lion Square. In 1823 he was appointed organist of the newly opened Hanover Chapel, Regent Street, at a salary of 50l. per annum, a post he occupied until his death, which took place at 7 Middlesex Place, New Road, on 7 Nov. 1839. Carnaby wrote a considerable amount of meritorious music; six songs dedicated to Lady Templetown, two books of songs dedicated to W. Knyvett, six canzonets for two voices to words by Shenstone, and a collection of vocal music dedicated to Viscountess Mahon are perhaps his best compositions, but he also wrote many songs, vocal duets, and pianoforte pieces which are always respectable, if not remarkably original.

[Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 316; Gent. Mag. 1808, 628; Musical World, 14 Nov. 1839; Times, 11 Nov. 1839; Luard's Cantabrigienses Graduati, 71; Brit. Mus. Music Cat.]

W. B. S.