Thomas Attwood (23 November 1765 – 24 March 1838) was the son of a musician in the royal band. He was born in London, and became a chorister in the Chapel Royal, where he received training in music from James Nares and Edmund Ayrton. In 1783 he was sent to study abroad at the expense of the Prince of Wales, who had been favourably impressed by his skill at the harpsichord. After two years in Naples, Attwood proceeded to Vienna, where he became a favourite pupil of Mozart. In 1796 he was chosen as the organist of St Paul's Cathedral, and in the same year he was made composer of the Chapel Royal. For the coronation of George IV. he composed the anthem "I was Glad." Soon after the institution of the Royal Academy of Music in 1823, Attwood was chosen to be one of the professors. He was also one of the original members of the Royal Philharmonic Society, founded in 1813. He wrote the anthem "O Lord, Grant the King a Long Life", which was performed at the coronation of William IV.
Attwood's funeral took place at St Paul's Cathedral on 31 March 1838. He is buried in the Cathedral, in the crypt, under the organ.
Attwood's compositions, which show the influence of his teacher Mozart, are now largely forgotten except for a few short anthems. These include "O God who by the leading of a star", "Come, Holy Ghost", "Turn Thy face from my sins", and "Teach me, O Lord". He was himself the teacher of John Goss, Cipriani Potter and his godson Thomas Attwood Walmisley, and in his last years a friend of Mendelssohn. Today there are many critics that say the Attwood should have achieved much greater things, and that he lacked the true inspiration of his friend, Mozart. Also remember that Attwood was a very important organist, and, from the inspiration of Mendelsohn, was the man who "brought the foot pedals" to the English organ.