17th January 1712
19th May 1786
Charles John Stanley was an English composer and organist.
He began studying music at the age of seven. Under the guidance of Maurice Greene, composer and organist at St. Paul's Cathedral, he studied "with great diligence, and a success that was astonishing" (Burney). At the age of nine he played the organ, probably as an occasional deputy, at All Hallows Bread Street.
Though virtually blind, Stanley had a remarkable memory which helped him direct many of Handel's oratorios and to enjoy music-making and card games with his many friends. If he had to accompany a new oratorio he would ask his sister-in-law to play it through just once - enough to commit it to memory. He frequently played the organ at the Vauxhall Gardens and was first choice to play at charity events and at the launch of any newly built church organs. He even found time to teach. His oratorio Jephthah was first performed in 1757.