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Life as a professional musician

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Trinity Hall Cambridge   Recommendation for membership of the RPS (1817)
Trinity Hall Cambridge in the 1790s
British Library K.Top.8.50.k

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  Recommendation for membership of the RPS (1817)
British Library RPS MS 315, f.4

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Recommendation for membership of the RPS (1819)   Letter to Mme Fouché about Bridgetower's travelling and domestic arrangements
Recommendation for membership of the RPS (1819)
British Library RPS MS 315, f.10

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  Transcription of a letter about Bridgetower's domestic arrangements (1847-48)
British Library Egerton MS 3096, f.195

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Back in London Bridgetower's career was notable for the friendship and respect he enjoyed amongst his peers. Among his friends were the composer Viotti, Johann Cramer, the German-born pianist, composer and music publisher, the organist Thomas Attwood, Dr Charles Hague, Professor of Music at Cambridge, and Samuel Wesley who left an appreciation of Bridgetower which began: "George Polgreen Bridgetower, whom they used to denominate the African Prince, is justly to be ranked with the very first masters of the violin."

Bridgetower was elected to the Royal Society of Musicians in London on 4 October 1807, and in June 1811 he took the degree of B.Mus. at Cambridge. His exercise on the occasion was an anthem which was performed with full orchestra and chorus at Great St Mary's Church on 30 June 1811. The Times on 2 July commented that "the composition was elaborate - and rich and highly accredited to the talents of the Graduate".

Subsequently Bridgetower taught the piano, and in 1812 published a small piano work, Diatonica Armonica, dedicated to his pupils. He played in the Philharmonic Society's first season in 1813, leading the performance of Beethoven's 'Quintett', and he was recommended for membership of the RPS in 1817. He was re-admitted on 6 November 1819, when the notice he received also mentions that when attending concerts he is entitled to be accompanied by 'Mrs Bridgetower'. After 1820 he is mentioned from time to time in various letters and memoirs: Rome (1825 & 1827), London (1843 & 1846) and Vienna and Paris (1848). A letter from Vincent Novello, the organist, publisher and composer who led the Bach revival in Britain, is signed “your much obliged old pupil and professional admirer”.

Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips

The final years Next - 'The final years'

Introduction Introduction
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Dumas Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
John Archer John Archer
 
 
 
Discover more:
Introduction
Introduction
Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin
Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower
Background and early years
Background and early years
Arrival in England and GPB's debut in Bath
Arrival in England and debut in Bath
First successes in London
First successes in London
GPB, Brighton and the Prince of Wales
Bridgetower, Brighton and the Prince of Wales
Play it again Mr bridgetower - Beethoven and Vienna
Play it again Mr Bridgetower - Beethoven and Vienna
Life as a professional musician
The final years
The final years
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
John Archer
John Archer
 
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