St. Bartholomew’s Church Wilmslow
13 April 2024, 2.30pm

The distinguished composer Anthony Gilbert died on 5th July last at the age of 88. He had succeeded Thomas Pitfield at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and was in charge of composition in that institution for 28 years, having been lured to the RNCM from Lancaster University by Sir John Manduell, the Founding Principal.

Tony amassed a very large and diverse work list, including the operas The Scene Machine and The  Chakravaka-Bird, striking concertos for violin, piano, recorder and clarinet, four piano sonatas, five string quartets, and a host of other works, often quirky and almost always cleverly tailored to the personalities of performers who were as often as not close musical friends. He was greatly admired by all his fellow composers. 

To celebrate his life and achievements there will be a concert in St. Bartholomew’s Church Wilmslow on 13th April at 2.30pm. The performers will be:

  • Tom Winpenny (organ) playing the Poulenc Organ Concerto (Poulenc was a favourite of Tony’s)
  • Tony’s Piano Sonata No. 4 played by its dedicatee Richard Casey (a premiere)
  • Another Dream Carousel (a romantic and memorable sequence of waltzes, in tribute to a wartime refugee friend from childhood) performed by the Lindow Ensemble
  • the organ concerto conducted by his ex RNCM friend and colleague Tim Reynish. 

In addition there will be several short tribute pieces by distinguished composer friends including ex-pupils and colleagues. Performers for those will be Lesley-Jane Rogers (soprano), Richard Simpson (oboe), Flora White (harp), and John Turner (recorder).

After the concert there will be buffet in the Parish Hall, provided by Kauri Foods, run by Shelley Jones, who was the chef to the New Zealand ambassador in Brussels, so there is another treat in store. 

There is no charge for admission to the concert or the buffet, but we do need to know numbers for catering purposes. If you would like to come along, please email both myself and my colleague Andrew Mayes, or telephone me on 0161 432 4682. Copies of Tony’s autobiography Kettle of Fish, and Prima Facie CDs of his music will be available to purchase.

Written by John Turner; photograph courtesy of Leo Gilbert