b.5 July 1895, London
d.8 June 1984, Saffron Walden
Gordon Jacob was the musician’s musician par excellence. He was noted for his complete professionalism as a composer and arranger of music both light and serious. Jacob was born in London on 5 July 1895 and died on 8 June 1984, shortly before his 89th birthday. After his initial schooling at Dulwich College, he became a student at the Royal College of Music in London, where his tutors included Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Sir Hubert Parry and Herbert Howells. He taught briefly at Birkbeck and Morley Colleges, also in London, before returning to the Royal College as a lecturer in 1926; he was to remain there until his retirement in 1966. His students there included Malcolm Arnold, Imogen Holst (composer daughter of Gustav), Elizabeth Maconchy and Bernard Stevens.
Gordon Jacob is remembered for his achievement in a number of fields. His textbooks Orchestral Technique (1931), The Composer and his Art (1955) and The Elements of Orchestration (1962) are still widely read and respected. He arranged a number of works by other composers, producing orchestral versions of Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite and Holst’s First and Second Suites and Moorside Suite, all originally for wind or brass band, and orchestrating items from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book as the William Byrd Suite (1922, rev. 1939); Mam’zelle Angot is a ballet suite arranged from Lecocq’s opera of 1872.
Jacob also wrote a number of original works for symphonic band, including An Original Suite (1928), Music for a Festival (1951), Flag of Stars (1956), the Concerto for Band (1970), Double Concerto (1976) and Celebration Overture (1984).
His original orchestral works include two symphonies (1929 and 1944), three sinfoniettas (1942, 1951, 1953), a Divertimento for small orchestra (1938), the Galop joyeux (1937) and a generous quantity of concertante pieces: for viola, piano (two concertos), oboe (two concertos), bassoon, cor anglais, horn, violin (two concertos), flute (two concertos), cello, trombone and harmonica.
Gordon Jacob is published by Boosey & Hawkes.
This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with the following credit: Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes