William Hawes

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William Hawes (1785 – 18 February 1846), English musician, was born in London, and was for eight years (1793–1801) a chorister of the Chapel Royal, where he studied music chiefly under Dr Ayrton.

He subsequently held various musical posts, being in 1817 appointed master of the children of the Chapel Royal. According to one of the choristers under his charge at that time, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, William Hawes was a disciplinarian who would freely whip the choirboys with a riding whip when the choirboys made mistakes. Wesley also remembers Maria Hackett giving them all succulent buns to help alleviate the pain.

He also carried on the business of a music publisher, and was for many years musical director of the Lyceum Theatre, London, then devoted to English opera. He was master of the choristers at St Paul's Cathedral in London from 1812 to 1846

In the last-named capacity (on 23 July 1824), he introduced Weber's Der Freischütz for the first time in England, at first slightly curtailed, but soon afterwards in its entirety. Winter's Interrupted Sacrifice, Mozart's Così fan tutte, Marschner's Der Vampyr and other important works were also brought out under his auspices.

Hawes also wrote or compiled the music for numerous pieces. Better were his glees and madrigals, of which he published two series. He also edited and published in 1814 the first re-edition of The Triumphs of Oriana.

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Cultural offices
Preceded by
John Stafford Smith
Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal
Succeeded by
Thomas Helmore