William Thomas Best
William Thomas Best (1826-1897) was an English organist and composer, born at Carlisle, Cumberland. In childhood, he displayed talent for music, and had some lessons from Young, the organist of the Carlisle Cathedral.
In 1840, he was sent to Liverpool to become a civil engineer, but he practised daily on the organ of the baptist chapel at Pembroke Road, where he had become organist at the age for fourteen.
Best was mainly self-taught but had some lessons in counterpoint from John Richardson, organist of St. Nicholas’s Roman Catholic church.
At about the age of twenty, he decided to become a professional musician. In 1847 he was appointed organist at the Church for the Blind in Liverpool, and in 1849 also to the Liverpool Philharmonic Society under whose auspices he made his first appearance as a concert organist.
Best’s compositions were largely religious in nature and included hymn tunes, anthems, and organ voluntaries. His ecclesiastical music, especially his Benedicite (1864) with a free organ part, and his Service in F, are to this day often performed.