Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cooper, George

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COOPER, GEORGE (1820–1876), organist, was born on 7 July 1820 at Lambeth. His father was assistant organist at St. Paul's. His early proficiency and facility of execution—he had practised assiduously on an old pedal harpsichord—were remarked by Attwood, the chief organist of the cathedral, who on several occasions made him extemporise at the festivals of the Sons of the Clergy. At the age of eleven he often took the service instead of his father, and in 1834 received the appointment of organist of St. Benet, Paul's Wharf. Two years later he became organist of St. Ann and St. Agnes, and on Attwood's death, in March 1838, he succeeded his father as assistant organist of the cathedral. His father, who had resigned at that time, died in 1843, on which Cooper obtained his post at St. Sepulchre's. In the same year he was appointed to Christ's Hospital. In September 1856 he was appointed organist of the Chapel Royal, vice J. B. Sale, deceased. This appointment, together with those at St. Paul's and St. Sepulchre's, he retained till the time of his death. He published a book of ‘Organ Arrangements,’ an ‘Organist's Assistant,’ an ‘Introduction to the Organ,’ and an ‘Organist's Manual’ (1851). In 1862 he revised the music for the Rev. W. Windle's ‘Church and Home Metrical Psalter and Hymn Book,’ contributing several tunes of his own composition. On the death of Dr. Gauntlett in February 1876 he undertook to complete the musical editing of ‘Wesley's Hymns.’ He had finished the task at the time of his death, 2 Oct. 1876, and the book appeared in 1877.

[Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians; Cheque Books of the Chapel Royal; Prefaces to hymn books quoted above; British Museum Cat.]

J. A. F. M.