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Thomas Attwood (23 November 176524 March 1838) was an Englishmarker composer and organist.

The son of a musician in the royal band, Attwood was born in Londonmarker. At the age of nine he became a chorister in the Chapel Royal. In 1783 he was sent to study abroad at the expense of the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV), who had been favourably impressed by his skill at the harpsichord. After ending two years at Naplesmarker, Attwood proceeded to Viennamarker, where he became a favorite pupil of Mozart. On his return to London in 1787 he held for a short time an appointment as one of the chamber musicians to the Prince of Wales. In 1796 he was chosen organist of St Paul's Cathedralmarker, and in the same year he was made composer to the Chapel Royal. His court connection was further confirmed by his appointment as musical instructor to the Duchess of York, and afterwards to the Princess of Wales. For the coronation of George IV. he composed the anthem I was Glad. The king, who had neglected him for some years on account of his connection with the Princess of Wales, now restored him to favour, and in 1821 appointed him organist to his private chapel at Brightonmarker. Soon after the institution of the Royal Academy of Musicmarker in 1823, Attwood was chosen to be one of the professors. He was also one of the original members of the Royal Philharmonic Society, founded in 1813. He wrote the anthem O Lord, Grant the King a Long Life, which was performed at the coronation of William IV, and he was composing a similar work for the coronation of Queen Victoria when he died at his house in Cheyne Walkmarker, Chelseamarker, on 24 March 1838. He was buried under the organ in St Paul's Cathedral.

Attwood's compositions, which show the influence of his teacher Mozart, are now largely forgotten except for a few short anthems. These include "O God who by the leading of a star", "Come, Holy Ghost", "Turn Thy face from my sins", and "Teach me, O Lord". He was himself the teacher of John Goss, Cipriani Potter and his godson Thomas Attwood Walmisley, and in his last years a friend of Mendelssohn.


Nicholas Temperley: "Attwood, Thomas", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 28 June 2005),

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  • Psalm 50 Anglican Chant by King's College Choir

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