William Hawes (1785 – 18 February 1846) was an English musician.
Hawes was born in London, and was for eight years (1793–1801) a chorister of the Chapel Royal, where he studied music, mainly under Edmund Ayrton. He subsequently held various musical posts, being master of the choristers at St Paul's Cathedral in London from 1812 to 1846. Additionally, in 1817 he was 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 they made mistakes. Wesley remembered Maria Hackett giving them succulent buns to help alleviate the pain.
Hawes 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. In this 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 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.
John Stafford Smith
| Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal
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