Born in Bath, Somerset. Studied clarinet, piano and composition at the Royal College of Music (interrupted by National Service in the Band of the Irish Guards). During the 1960s he taught at Dauntsey’s School in Wiltshire, beginning to compose in earnest after winning 2nd prize in the International Schnitgerprize Competition (Holland, 1964) with his organ work Variations and Passacaglia. From 1970 until his retirement in 1995 he taught at the RSAMD in Glasgow. Most of his compositions here have been written with students or colleagues in mind, and include chamber, vocal, choral, and further large-scale organ works.
Born in Bath, Somerset, July 15th, 1934. Educated at Bathwick Primary School, where my father was Headmaster, and City of Bath Boys’ School – now renamed Beechen Cliff School. The music master, Allan Bennett, was the man who inspired me to take up a musical career, along with the organist of St Mary’s church, Bathwick, where I was a choirboy from 1943-50.
In 1952 I went to the Royal College of Music where my tutors were Ralph Clarke (BBCSO) for clarinet, Eric Gritton & Hubert Dawkes, piano/piano accompaniment and Dr William Lloyd Webber, theory and composition. My College studies were interrupted by National Service as a clarinettist in the Band of the Irish Guards from 1953-56. I was allowed to resume my College course in 1955, graduating with my ARCM in 1957.
I was fortunate to pick up work as a clarinettist with the Jose Limon American Dance Company for their European tour, September-December 1957. Back in London I free-lanced for 3 years, depping as pianist with the Ballet Rambert and doing theatre work, including the London premiere of West Side Story. I was also involved with the legendary Hoffnung concerts.
After my marriage in 1960 I moved to Wiltshire, where I was assistant Director of Music at Dauntsey’s School, West Lavington, near Devizes, where I taught clarinet, piano & organ, plus numerous other musical duties. During the ten years I was there I took the opportunity to gain an external B.Mus of London University – where my examiners were Herbert Howells, Eric Thiman and Prof Anthony Lewis (RAM). I also gained my ARCO, FRCO and an LRAM in Piano Accompaniment. I begin to compose, winning second prize in the Schnitger Prize Organ Competition in Zwolle, Holland (1964) with my Variations and Passacaglia.
In 1970 I was appointed as a lecturer in the Academic Studies Department of the RSAMD (as it then was) in Glasgow, where I stayed until my retirement in 1995. Whilst there I composed many works for students and student ensembles, which can be viewed at the Scottish Music Centre. After retiring I was involved in overseas mission trips from the Victory Christian centre in Govan (several to Belgium, France and Belarus). In particular, I was invited by a Baptist Missionary pastor whom I had previously known for many years in Glasgow, to go and help with the music in a dozen or more small Baptist churches in the south of Italy – in Puglia, Basilicata and (latterly) Reggio Calabria. I have left my mark there, as many of my arrangements have been published in Italian hymn books!
For many years I had sung with the Glasgow Kedron Singers. In 2010 I took over as conductor, managing to keep the small choir going until its 60th anniversary in 2015, when – because of declining numbers we decided to disband. I now (2017) still help with the organ playing in Park Church, Uddingston, but am also a member of the Healing Rooms team in East Kilbride and similar ministry in the Glasgow area. One of my daughters, Sally Ann, is a professional violinist (ex-RSAMD & RAM) She played with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra until she married an Australian violinist in 1999. They have lived in Brisbane for many years, where she is a member of the prestigious Camerata of St John’s, Brisbane.
Sounds from the Silent Land (3), Organ Recital by Kevin Bowyer
No tickets required. Generously supported by the Ferguson Bequest. All welcome.
- Park Pages – John Weeks
- Toccata (Second Symphony for Organ) – Kaikhosru Sorabji
- Trio Sonata in E flat – Harold Truscott
- Passacaglia and Fugue, Op. 35 – John Joubert