Crosdill, John 1751?-1825, violoncellist, was born in London either in 1751 or 1755, and educated in the choir of Westminster Abbey under Robinson and Cooke. At Westminster he became acquainted with Lord Fitzwilliam, with whom a schoolboy friendship sprang up which endured during the greater part of his life. On leaving the choir he studied the violoncello with Jean Pierre Duport, and probably also with his father, who was a violoncellist of some fame. In 1764 Crosdill played in a duet for two violoncellos at a concert given by Siprutini. On 4 Dec. 1768 he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Musicians, and in the following year played at the Gloucester festival. According to Fétis (Biographie des Musiciens, ii. 396), in 1772 Crosdill went to Paris, where he remained some years studying with the elder Janson and playing in an amateur orchestra directed by the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The same account states that he did not return to London until 1780, but as he played at the Three Choirs festivals regularly from 1769 until his retirement, with the sole exception of the year 1778, it is evident that Fétis's account cannot be correct. In 1776 he became principal 'cello at the Concerts of Antient Music, and on 10 March 1778 was appointed violist at the Chapel Royal, on the resignation of Nares, a post which he held until his death. About the same time he also became a member of the king's private band. In 1782 he was appointed chamber musician to Queen Charlotte; he also taught the violoncello to the Prince of Wales. In 1784 Crosdill was principal violoncellist at the Handel festival in Westminster Abbey. In July 1790 his father died at Nottingham Street, Marylebone, at the advanced age of ninety-two. About this time Crosdill married a lady of fortune, and retired from the profession, though he played at the coronation of George IV in 1821. For several years he lived in Titchfield Street, where Lord Fitzwilliam often stayed with him, and later in Grosvenor Square, with Beilby Thompson of Escrick, M.P. for Hedon, but after Thompson's death retired to his own house in Berners Street. He died at Escrick, Yorkshire, at the house of a nephew of Thompson, in October 1825. He left a considerable fortune to his only son, Lieutenant-colonel Crosdill, C.B., who, in fulfilment of his father's wishes, gave a sum of 1,000l. to the Royal Society of Musicians. There is a profile portrait of Crosdill engraved by Daniell, after Dance.

     Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 419
     Gent. Mag. 1790, p. 1055
     Parke's Musical Memoirs, ii. 231
     Harmonicon, 1825
     Annals of the Three Choirs Festivals, p. 46
     Evans's Cat. of Portraits
     Cheque-Book of the Chapel Royal.

Contributor: W. B. S. [William Barclay Squire]

Published: 1888