Born 1784, Onslow lived comfortably in chateaux around Clermont-Fernand, with regular sojourns to Paris.
He composed Wind Quintet Opus 81 late in life, aged 66 (1850). He wrote only two further compositions before his death in 1853.
Opus 81 was one of a very few quintets written in the 19th c after the celebrated quintets of Anton Reicha (Onslow’s composition teacher in 1808).
Opus 81 was dedicated to five eminent musicians of the early 19th c, who had each been important in the evolution of their instrument: Louis Dorus (flute); Stanislas Verroust (oboe); Charles Verroust (bassoon); Adolphe Leroy (clarinet); and Joseph Mengal (horn).
Onlsow’s music was widely celebrated during his lifetime yet virtually unknown following WWI until modern times.