James Hook (June 3, 1746 ? 1827) was an English composer and organist.
He was born in Norwich, the son of James Hook, a razor-grinder and cutler. He displayed a remarkable musical talent at an early age, playing the harpsichord by the age of four and performing concertos in public at age six. He began performing regularly by the time he was 10 years old, including benefit concerts. He held many jobs to earn money, including teaching, composing, transcribing music and tuning keyboard instruments.
Sometime between June 1763 and February 1764 Hook moved to London. There he became the organist at White Conduit House, Pentonville, one of the tea gardens that were popular in 18th-century London. He worked as an organist, teacher and composer, and gained a reputation for composing vocal music. He married the artist and writer Elizabeth Jane Madden on May 29, 1766, at St. Pancras Old Church.
Hook was appointed organist and composer to Marylebone Gardens in 1768. In addition to his performances as an organist, and occasionally on the harpsichord, he was now invited to perform concertos between the main works in the theatres, and his short musical entertainments and comic operas were being produced for the pleasure gardens and in the London theaters.
He was appointed organist of St Johns Horselydown, Bermondsey, in 1772, and frequently played concerts on newly built organs, both in London and in nearby counties, often playing his own compositions, he was highly successful as a teacher of organ and harpsichord. Hook remained at Marylebone Gardens until the end of the 1773 season, and a year later was engaged in a similar position at Vauxhall Gardens, where he worked until 1820.
Throughout these years he composed operas and other musical works, most of which were produced at Drury Lane and Covent Garden Theatres. On October 18, 1805, Hook's wife died, and a year later, on November 4, 1806, he married his second wife, Harriet Horncastle James. In 1820 he unexpectedly left his position at Vauxhall, after almost a half century of service, and he died seven years later in Boulogne.
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