Avison Workbook Spread 0

Avison Workbook Spread 0 cover

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  • Charles Avison


    The Charles Avison Collection comprises some forty items of manuscripts and recordings, publications and concert programmes.

    Charles Avison was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1709. A composer, conductor, organist and writer of music, he is considered to be the most important English concerto composer of the 18th century.

    He studied music with his father Richard Avison, one of the local professional musicians known as Town Waits, and later with the famous Italian composer Francesco Geminiani.
    In 1735 he organised a series of subscription concerts along the lines of those held in London, Edinburgh and elsewhere. They became one of the most successful concert series outside London and were continued after Avison's death by his sons Edward and Charles; recently these concerts have been revived by The Charles Avison Society.
    In 1752 Avison's fame spread nation-wide with the publication of his celebrated 'Essay of Musical Expression' - the first English work on musical criticism.

    Avison on his own, made Newcastle England's greatest provincial music centre of the time. As a composer he is best known for his string concertos which total over 80. Other compositions include chamber and sacred music. Some of the performers in Avison's orchestra included notable figures of the time, including William Herschel, celebrated astronomer, Ralph Beilby, engraver, and William Shield, a pupil of Avison, who later became Master of the King's Music.

    Avison died in Newcastle in May 1770 and was buried in St Andrew's churchyard, Newgate Street.

    Collection: Avison