Cutler, William Henry (DNB00)

CUTLER, WILLIAM HENRY (b. 1792), musician, born in London in 1792, was taught music by his father at a very early age. Before he was five years old he could play a violin concerto, but showing more talent for the spinet he had some lessons on that instrument from J. H. Little, and subsequently on the pianoforte from G. E. Griffin. About 1799 he learnt singing and thorough bass from Dr. Arnold, and in 1800 he made his first appearance at a concert at the Haymarket Theatre, when he played a pianoforte concerto by Viotti. In 1801 he studied at Cambridge for a short time under Busby, but in 1803 he was placed in the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, on leaving which he studied the theory of music under W. Russell. In 1812 Cutler took the degree of Mus. Bac. at Oxford; his exercise, an anthem, ‘O praise the Lord,’ was performed there on 1 Dec. and subsequently published by subscription. In 1818 he was appointed organist of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, and shortly afterwards adopted the Logierian system of teaching music. He opened an academy for this purpose, but the venture was unsuccessful, and came to an end in a few years' time. In 1821 Cutler sang at the Drury Lane oratorios, but failed, owing, it was said, to nervousness. In 1823 he resigned his post at St. Helen's, and became organist—or, as he styled it, ‘Maestro di Capella’—of Quebec Street Chapel. About this time he seems to have taught in Yarmouth and Norwich as well as in London; he is last heard of in the latter place on 5 June 1824, when he gave a grand concert at the Opera House, which a contemporary describes as ‘the most extraordinary performance of the season.’ Braham and Pasta both sang, but in spite of this the affair was a disastrous failure. Cutler afterwards published a manifesto, explaining that he hoped to have gained both fame and money by this venture, but the critics declared that ‘his exposé is even more curious than his oratorio, and he has condescended to prove that however bad his music may be, his logic and his English are even worse.’ After this Cutler disappears without leaving any trace, even the date of his death being unknown. He published some miscellaneous music (a list of which is given in the anonymous ‘Dictionary of Musicians,’ ed. 1827), but none of it is at all remarkable.

[Dict. of Musicians, ed. 1827, p. 195; Harmonicon, July 1824; London Magazine, July 1824.]

W. B. S.