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Kenneth Leighton


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Kenneth Leighton (b. Wakefield, October 2, 1929, d. Edinburgh, August 24, 1988) was an English composer. Leighton was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire and was a chorister at Wakefield Cathedral from 1937 to 1942. He earned the LRAM Piano Performer’s Diploma in 1946. In 1947 he went to The Queen’s College, Oxford on a Hastings Scholarship in Classics. In 1950, he graduated with both BA in Classics and in 1951 with a BMus (having studied with Bernard Rose). In the same year he won the Mendelssohn Scholarship and went to Rome to study with the Italian avant garde composer Goffredo Petrassi.

Kenneth Leighton was Professor of Theory at the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal, Kent (1952-53) and Gregory Fellow in Music at the University of Leeds (1953-56). In 1956 he was appointed Lecturer in Music at the University of Edinburgh, where he was made Senior Lecturer and then Reader; in 1968, he returned to Oxford as University Lecturer in Music and Fellow of Worcester College. In October 1970, he was appointed Reid Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh, a post which he held until his death in 1988. He was succeeded in this post by his student Nigel Osborne.

Kenneth Leighton was one of the most distinguished of the British post-war composers; over 100 compositions are published (mostly by Novello & Co), many of which were written to commission, and his work is frequently performed and broadcast both in Britain and in other countries.


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