Michael Arne

(ca. 1740 - 1786)

English composer and keyboard player. Perhaps the adopted son (or the "natural son," according to Burney) of Thomas Augustine Arne, he was raised by his aunt, Mrs. Cibber. He appeared first as a singer, in 1750, though he soon found a niche as organist and harpsichordist. During the 1750s and 1760s he contributed a large number of songs to stage plays for London theaters. In 1766 he married the singer Elizabeth Wright, who in 1767 sang the lead in her husband's setting of Cymon. The composer's interest in alchemy steadily drained his finances during the 1770s and 1780s, and he died in poverty. He had composed nine operas, collaborated on at least fifteen others, and published seven song collections.

VIIJ: Music in Britain after 1730