1st January 1815
6th March 1895
Henry Lazarus was the leading British clarinet virtuoso of the 19th century.
George Bernard Shaw wrote of Henry Lazarus "He was the best clarionet [old spelling, now clarinet] player in England; when you were sitting behind Costa at the Opera you listened for certain phrases from the clarionet just as you did from the prima donna, except that you were much less likely to be disappointed in the former case."
Raised as an orphan in the Royal Military Asylum in Chelsea, he there learned the instrument from the bandmaster John Blizzard. He later studied under Charles Godfrey, bandmaster of the Coldstream Guards. His solo debut came in 1838. Lazarus was professor of clarinet at the Royal Academy of Music from 1854 to 1895. He wrote a Method for the Clarinet based on the Boehm System, although he himself never switched. His method books still in use today, and include duets, etudes, studies, finger exercises, scales, etc. He taught at Kneller Hall from 1858. He also played the basset horn and saxophone. Lazarus died in 1895 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.