John Francis Barnett was the son of John Barnett's brother, Joseph Alfred, also a professor of music. John Francis carried on the traditions of the family as a composer and teacher. He obtained a queen's scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, and developed into an accomplished pianist, visiting Germany to study in 1857 and playing at a Gewandhaus concert at Leipzig in 1860. He became noticed as a composer with his symphony in A minor (1864), and followed this with a number of compositions for orchestra, strings and piano. His cantataThe Ancient Mariner premiered at Birmingham in 1867, and another, Paradise and the Peri, in 1870, both successfully. In 1873 his most important work, the oratorio The Raising of Lazarus, was written, and in 1876 produced at Hereford. During this period, Barnett also composed several other minor cantatas and piano pieces, and he took an active part as a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Royal College of Music, where his students included Marmaduke Barton.
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