John Banister ("The Elder")

(c.1625 - 1679)

English composer and violinist. Musician in Ordinary for the violins replacing Davis Mell 1660. He was sent to France in 1661 to observe Louis XIV's Violons du Roy; upon returning to London he directed, for a brief time, a 12-member ensemble extracted from the King's Violins. He remained in the royal service until his death: member of the Royal "24 Violins" 1662-67; director of the "24 Violins" and the "Select Band" 1662-67; violinist in the "Private Musick" 1662-79; Musician in Ordinary in the King's Music for violins 1678-79. In 1672 he began a popular series of concerts in his home and in various concert halls; they are often cited as some of the first public concerts in Europe. From 1677 he was apparently music master for Princess Anne. He composed sacred music; songs for plays (Davenant and Dryden's version of Shakespeare's The Tempest,1667; Shadwell's Epsom Wells,1672); and chamber music (some in Courtly Masquing Ayres,1662, and New Ayres and Dialogues,1678). His son John (b. London, date unknown; died there, 1725?), also a composer and violinist, joined the King's Violins in 1679 and played alongside him; occasionally the two appeared together in the concert series established by John, Sr. The son composed songs for plays and music for violins.

Works: Slighted Maid by Stapylton 1661/62; Adventures of Five Hours 1663; The Indian Queen (Play) by Howard and Dryden1663/64; Sir Martin Mar-all by Dryden 1667; The Tempest by Davenant-Dryden 1667; The Man's the Master by Davenant 1668; The Royal Shepherdess by Shadwell 1668/69; The Conquest of Granada by Behn 1670; The Adventures of Five Hours by Tuke 1671; The Gentleman Dancing Master by Wycherley 1671/72; Epsom Wells by Shadwell 1672; Beauty's Triumph (Masque) by Duffett 1676; Circe by Davenant 1677; New Ayres and Dialogues composed for voices and viols 1678.

A Partial John Banister Discography | VIIA: Henry Purcell and his Contemporaries