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Death of Derek Bourgeois

The death has been announced of the composer Derek Bourgeois.

dEREK bOURGEOIS
  The death has been announced of the respected composer Derek Bourgeois

The death has been announced of composer Derek Bourgeois. He was aged 75.

Born in Kingston upon Thames in 1941, he studied at Magdalene College, Cambridge before spending two years at the Royal College of Music, studying under Herbert Howells and Sir Adrian Boult.

Director

For many years he was a lecturer in music at Bristol University, and was Director of the National Youth Orchestra from 1984 to 1993. In 1994 he was appointed Director of Music at St Paul's Girls School, London, a position previously held by a number of noted composers, including Gustav Holst and his former mentor Howells.

He also chaired the Composer's Guild of Great Britain and served as the Artistic Director of Bristol Philharmonic Orchestra. He founded the National Youth Chamber Orchestra of Great Britain in 1988 and was a member of the Music Advisory Panel of the Arts Council.

Symphonies and concerti

It was reported that he wrote 114 symphonies and numerous other works, included a series highly regarded concerti — including for tuba, trombone and most recently for cornet, commissioned by Tom Hutchinson of Cory Band and released earlier this year.

His television compositions included the scores for 'The Crucible', the short documentaries 'Thirty Million Letters' and 'The Driving Force' and 'The Barchester Chronicles'.

Prolific

A prolific composer for the brass band medium, his major works combined fearsome technical challenges combined with a dark wit.

His noted output included 'Blitz', 'The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea' and 'Concerto No 1 for Brass Band' which were used as the set-works for the National Championships of Great Britain, whilst 'Diversions for Brass Band' was used both at the Albert Hall and at the British Open.

Other major works such as 'Concerto Grosso' — originally written for the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, 'The Downfall of Lucifer', 'Apocalypse' and 'Lac Leman' have been performed extensively across the banding world, as have his lighter items such as the quirky 'Serenade', written for his wedding to his first wife Jean.

A prolific composer for the brass band medium, his major works combined fearsome technical challenges combined with a dark wit4BR

Conductor and adjudicator

He was also the conductor of the Sun Life Band for a period — one that included leading them to the West of England Area title in 1983, and was a forthright adjudicator — including two National Finals at the Albert Hall, Brass in Concert and the Swiss National Championships.

After retiring in 2002 he and his wife settled in Mallorca. Following her death in 2006, he remarried in 2008 and moved to New York City, but returned to the United Kingdom in 2009.

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Mike Sheppard

B.A. (Hons) Music
Composer, conductor, teacher, author


               

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