Music in Oxford flourished throughout the 17th century, revolving about both the university and the city. The degree of Bachelor of Arts in Music was granted from the end of the 15th century at the latest; the earliest recorded recipient of the Doctor of Music degree was the celebrated composer Robert Fayrfax in 1511. There was a newly revived tradition of performing sacred music in Oxford in the 17th century, following an earlier period of decline. Except during the Interregnum, services and anthems were performed in the colleges which had choral foundations, namely New College, Christ Church, Magdalen College, and St John's College, as well as in the university church of St Mary's. Secular musical celebrations also took place on various occasions in the college and university calendar. Regular events included the annual Act ceremonies, while exceptional occasions, notably royal visits, provided an opportunity to produce stage plays and lavish musical entertainments. Official university activities of this kind were paralleled by the public ceremonial and religious rites of the city, and indeed ‘town’ and ‘gown’ music overlapped.
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