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News > Births, Deaths and Marriages > DEREK BOURGEOIS, OCTOBER 1941-SEPTEMBER 2017


We are sorry to announce that Derek Bourgeois (2&3 South 1954-1959, MCR 1965-1971), died on September 6.

A music scholar at Cranleigh, he was already composing by the time he was five and wrote a piano sonata when he was 13.

After time as a music scholar at Cambridge and the Royal College of Music, he returned to teach at Cranleigh, composing a symphony, Jabberwocky, to mark the School’s centenary in 1965. One of his pupils, Alan Rusbridger, recalled “he threw wild parties, sang Verdi arias, dressed up as a gorilla and was a rather inspirational music master”.

From 1971, Bourgeois was a lecturer in music at Bristol University and then from 1984 to 1993 director of the National Youth Orchestra, finishing as director of music at St Paul’s Girls School until he retired in 2002. A prolific composer, he wrote his first symphony in 1959 and wrote more than 100, making him, by some way, Britain’s most prolific composer.

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