John Banister, the Composer & Violinist


John "The Elder")  (c.1630 - 1679)


English composer and violinist and musician in Ordinary for the violins replacing Davis Mell 1660.


John Banister 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.


Some of his works are listed below:



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) and probably many more.


Some early English Lute Songs composed by John Banister - the Elder, and other composers of the same period.


John Banister:

Come unto these yellow sands / Where the bee sucks /Dry those eyes / Full fathom five / Give me my lute


Lovely Selina


Fair, if you expect admiring


Rosa - lute solo / Can doleful notes?


In darkness let me dwell / Time stands still / Behold a wonder here

Johnson, R:

Full fathom five / Where the bee sucks / Fantasia - lute solo

Lawes, W:

Why so pale and wan, fond lover? / He that will not love (Persuasions not to Love) / I'm sick of love (To Sycamores) / Gather ye rosebuds (To the Virgins, to make much of Time)


The delights of the bottle


Riggadoon, Lute solo / Song Tune 'Ah how pleasant 'tis to love', / Lilliburlero, / Tis Nature's voice / Be welcome then, great Sir / Song Tune - 'Still I'm wishing', / Sefauchi's Farewell, / lute solo By beauteous softness


Arise, ye subterranean Winds

All these I believe can be found on the website below:-




John Banister, The Violinist:


John - the Junior (c.1655 to 1725)


John Banister the junior, son of John Banister-the Elder, 1630 to 1679, (was born in London, date unknown but probably around 1655; died there in 1725?), was also, like his father, a successful composer and violinist.


He joined the King's Violins in 1679 probably replacing his father who died in that year.

He had played alongside his father many times and occasionally the two appeared together in the concert series established by his father John, the elder.

The son, John the junior, composed many songs for plays and also many music for violins.


Some interesting links you might wish to follow are;


A Partial John Banister Discography


VIIA: Henry Purcell and his Contemporaries