John Birch MA, DMus, FRCO(CHM) 1929-2012

John Birch MA, DMus, FRCO(CHM) 1929-2012

We were greatly saddened to learn of the death of our colleague and College Vice President John Birch.

A former President of the College (1984-86), John passed away in his sleep on the evening of Friday 27th April.

John Anthony Birch was born in Staffordshire on 9 July 1929, and educated at first at Trent College, Derbyshire and then the Royal College of Music, where he studied with John Dykes Bower.

After National Service he was appointed organist of St Thomas’s Church in Regent Street, later moving to All Saints, Margaret Street. He also served in the 1950s as sub-organist for the Chapels Royal and worked with the St Michael’s Singers under Harold Darke.

In 1958 John was appointed organist and master of the choristers at Chichester Cathedral, roles he would fulfil for more than 20 years. He secured further posts at the RCM, the Royal Choral Society and the University of Sussex.

In 1982 he began a 15-year tenure as director of music at Temple Church, Central London, and in 1984 he was appointed curator-organist at the Royal Albert Hall. For many years he was also the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s organist of choice.

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