John Barnett (1802—1890), English musical composer, son of a Prussian named Bernhard Beer, who changed his name on settling in England as a jeweller, was born at Bedford, and at the age of eleven sang on the Lyceum stage in London. His good voice led to his being given a musical education, and he soon began writing songs and lighter pieces for the stage.
In 1834 he published a collection of Lyrical Illustrations of the Modern Poets. His Mountain Sylph--with which his name is chiefly connected--received a warm welcome when produced at the Lyceum on August 25, 1834, as the first modern English opera: and it was followed by another opera Fair Rosainund in 1837, and by Farinelli in 1839. He had a large connection as a singing-master at Cheltenham, and published Systems and Singing-masters (1842) and School for the Voice (1844). He died on the 16th of April 1890.