BMS Journal



British Composer Profiles is a biographical dictionary of past British composers living between 1800 and 2010. Gerald Leach’s work on two previous editions in the 1980s was recognised as a valuable resource, and the British Music Society has now published an expanded third edition revised, enlarged and edited by Ian Graham-Jones. The Chronology and Appendices have also been enlarged as further reference, and a new Introduction by Lewis Foreman offers useful insight into the background of the state of British music during the period covered.


Seven hundred and twenty composers are represented in this substantial 250-page dictionary. Each composer-entry contains brief biographical details and a listing of appropriate main works. Many of the composers listed will not be found in standard reference works, which makes this publication a first point of reference for those seeking basic information on the many British composers, some largely forgotten, who have contributed to our musical heritage since the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Copies of BMS Journals are available from the last 40 years.

BMS members can read many of these Journals online – simply click on the relevant edition below to access the contents.

Printed versions of many past editions are also available to buy too – click on the relevant journal to order it online. 

BMS Journal Cover Vol 41, 2019(2)

Volume 41, 2019/2. £5

Volume 41, 2019/1. £5

Volume 40, 2018/2. £5

Volume 39/40, 2017/2; 2018/1. £5

Volume 38, 2016/2. £5

Bernard Steven: Fusionary of Antagonisms  by Christoph Schlüren
Music in the Shadows: A tribute to film composer William Alwyn by Ian Johnson
‘Go Lovely Rose’, Roger Quilter: A Wordsmith’s Guide  by Nicola Harrison
Thank you, Norman Dello Joio! – A Voyage of Discovery by John Turner
London in Wartime: From the diaries of Thomas F. Dunhill  by Paul Vincent
The Battle of the Somme: the 1916 film  by Laura Rossi
Memories of Bernard Stevens, my Dad by Catherine Stevenson
John McCabe: Symphony No. 1 (Elegy), 1966  by John France
Gerald Finzi: Gloria and Nunc Dimittis by David Bednall
Obituaries: Guy Woolfenden, Freda Berkeley 

Volume 38, 2016/1. £5

Sterndale Bennett: A tribute on the centenary of his birth by Barry Sterndale-Bennett
Trevor Duncan by Philip Scowcroft 
Lucy, Ralph and Mr Holst by Alan Gibbs
George Lloyd: ‘Out of the depths’ by John Gibbons 
The Colourful Sounds of Miriam Hyde by Jo-Anne Kemp
Devils, Donkeys and Dinosaurs  by Paul Harrison
Obituaries: Maxwell Davies, Roger Smalley

Volume 37, 2015/2. £5

Serial technique in the early works of Denis Aplvor by Mark Marrington
Sir Arthur Bliss: Overture Edinburgh for Orchestra by John France
William Bardwell – a centenary tribute by Paul Conway
The Influence of Scriabin on the music of Frank Bridge by John Gibbons
Arthur Butterworth: North Country Impressionist by John France
Ronald Center: Cantata ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’ by Geoffrey Atkinson
Obituaries: Ronald Stevenson, Mervyn Burtch, Ernest Tomlinson

Volume 37, 2015/1. £5

John McCabe memories : Jacob’s Ladder (pt 2) – How Gordon Jacob became a composer : Arthur Butterworth – A life in music : The reception of Humphrey Searle : Algernon Ashton – another forgotten English composer : Obits – John McCabe, Peter Sculthorpe, Patrick Gowers, Ian Kellam

Buy online

Volume 36, 2014. £5

Jacob’s Ladder – How Gordon Jacob became a composer
Music of Cactus Land – A consideration of musical style and text setting in Denis ApIvor’s The Hollow Men
The Life and Music of William Lloyd Webber
On Making Operas from Novels and Britten’s Legacy – An interview with John Joubert

Buy online

Volume 35, 2013. £5

Imogen Holst, Benjamin Britten, and related activity. One Foot in Eden – Ronald Center’s centenary. Frances Joan Singleton (1886 – 1975). Pianist and Accompanist: A Perfect Wonder: Richard Henry Walthew (1872 – 1951) Composer, Conductor, Pianist and Teacher.

Buy online

Volume 34, 2012. £5

The Orchestral Music of Sir Edward German, by Ray Siese; Edward Cympson and the Victorian Drawing Room Operetta,by David Chandler; Dramatic structures with an emotive intention: The Symphonies of Daniel Jones (1912-1993), by Paul Conway

Volume 33, 2011. £5

The Life of William Gillies Whittaker (1876-1944), by J. Phillip Owen; The Music of Janet Hamilton – A Preliminary Survey, by John France (continued); From Wales to London and back: an appreciation of the great violinist Raymond Jeremy, by Nigel Jarrett; The Flute Music of Edwin York Bowen, by Glen Ballard; An Unpublished Letter from E.J.Moeran, by John France; The Oxford and Cambridge University Chamber Music Clubs, by Ian Maxwell.

Volume 32, 2010. £5

A Bax by any other name would be…Dermot O’Byrne?, by William B. Hannam; Percy Grainger and Empire: Kipling, Racialism and All the World’s ‘Folk Music’, by Bob van der Linden; The Moeran Myth, by Ian Maxwell; Jack – Another Memory, by John Talbot; A forgotten Delius première: En Arabesk in Newport, by Nigel Jarrett; R.R. Terry (1865-1938) – Musical Editing of 16th Century Polyphony, by George Sharman; The Life and Work of Janet Hamilton, by Rolf Jordan; The Music of Janet Hamilton – A Preliminary Survey, by John France; Sir George Alexander Macfarren, his life and his operas, by Russell Burdekin.

Volume 31, 2009. £5

Memories of Jack, by John Talbot; The Moeran Centenary Recalled, by John Talbot; ‘Quiet Eloquence’: The Life and Music of Herbert Sumsion, by Diane M Nolan; ‘The Century Concerts’ –
A Very British Institiution, by Christopher Redwood; The Hipkins Memorial, by Alan Gibbs.

Volume 30, 2008. £5

The Vocal Music of Cecil Forsyth, by David M. Bynog; The role played by the English provincial music festivals in the promotion of new music during the nineteenth century – a survey, by Pippa Drummond; Music in the Midlands – Leicester’s Musical Life, 1759-1800, by Karl Kroeger; Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Commissioned Ballet Scores, by Paul R.W. Jackson ; Ursula Vaughan Williams; her correspondence about The Pilgrim’s Progress, by Stan Meares; The ‘Mad’ Songs of Ivor Gurney, by Richard Carder.

Volume 29, 2007. £5

Granville Bantock and Ernest Newman, by Lewis Foreman; Richard Arnell: a little Ninetieth Birthday tribute, by Paul R. W. Jackson; Holst, Purcell and Morley College, by Alan Gibbs; John Ireland’s Piano Sonata: the 1951 revision, by John Talbot; Music in Birmingham 1392 to 2006, by Margaret Handford; Elaine Hugh-Jones at Eighty, by Michael Jones; Tobias Matthay (1858-1945) and his Pupils, by Colin Scott-Sutherland.

Volume 28, 2006. £5

John Ireland and Charles Markes: a creative relationship, by George Dannatt; My Memories of Grace Williams (1906-1977) and her music, by Ian Parrott; Bristol’s Music and Musicians in region, nation and empire, by Stephen Banfield; Jaunting Car: the compositions of Peter Hope, by John Turner; Benjamin Frankel: his life and work, by Dimitri Kennaway.