George Alexander Macfarren, an English composer, born in London, March 2, 1813. He studied music under Mr. Lucas and in the royal academy, where he became professor of harmony in 1838. He was one of the founders of the society of antiquarian musicians, whose object was the publication of the works of English musicians of the 16th and 17th centuries. About 1840 his sight began to fail, and he has since become totally blind, notwithstanding which he has continued to write and teach. In 1840 he published "Rudiments of Harmony," and the difference between the views therein set forth and those generally held was so great that he was obliged to resign his professorship; but he was reinstated in 1851, and the work is now held in high esteem. His first important musical composition was a symphony in F minor; a second symphony was also successful. He has composed several overtures, one of which was performed by the Gewandhaus orchestra under Mendelssohn's direction in 1843, two quartets for stringed instruments, and pianoforte pieces. His operas are: " The Devil's Opera" (1838); "Don Quixote" (1846); "King Charles II." (1849); and " Robin Hood " (1860). The last named ran for a whole season. He has written several fine cantatas, one of which, " The Sleeper Awakened " (1850), ranks among the best of his works.
Another, " Outward Bound," was performed at the Norwich musical festival in 1872. He has also published numerous musical essays and criticisms, and " Six Lectures on Harmony" (1867), and arranged "Old English Ditties" (13 books, 1857-'69), " Moore's Irish Melodies," and " Scotch Songs."