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Leighton, Kenneth, 1929-1988 (Professor of Music, University of Edinburgh)



  • Existence: 1929 - 1988


Kenneth Leighton was born in October 1929 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, in a working-class family. He showed an interest in music very early on, so he was enrolled as a chorister at Wakefield Cathedral by his parents, and began piano lessons. He also composed settings of poetry for voice and piano and solo pieces as a teenager. In 1946 he obtained the Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music (LRAM) in piano performance, and then went on to study Classics and Music in Queen’s College, Oxford. In 1950 he gained a BA in Classics, and in 1951 the Oxford Bachelor of Music.

Leighton continued to accumulate successes, and was awarded the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1951, which enabled him to study with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome. After his return from Italy, he started his career as a teacher and composer. He taught briefly at the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal in 1952, before being awarded a Gregory Fellowship in music from 1953-56 at the University of Leeds. In 1956, he was appointed Lecturer, then Reader, at the University of Edinburgh, where he stayed until 1968 when he moved to Oxford University to succeed Edmund Rubbra as Fellow in Music of Worcester College. He returned to Edinburgh as Reid Professor of Music in 1970, holding the chair until his death in 1988, of oesophageal cancer.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Kenneth Leighton Archive

Identifier: Coll-1144
Scope and Contents

This archive consists mainly of Leighton's original music scores and sketches, as well as four large boxes of reel-to-reel tapes and vinyles. See the box list for an inventory of every piece.

Dates: 1946-1988

Letters from Kenneth Leighton to Neil Mackie

 Fonds — Box CLX-A-760: Series Coll-67/71
Identifier: Coll-2078
Content Description This fonds contains three letters (two originals, one copy) sent from Kenneth Leighton to Scottish tenor Neil Mackie in 1986 and 1987, relating to Leighton's composition "Earth, Sweet Earth" performed the first time by Neil Mackie in 1987. Letter dated 25 June 1986, in which Leighton informs Mackie that ""Earth Sweet Earth" is now finished" and that "[he is] sending [him] a copy of the text". He goes on...
Dates: 1986-1987

Additional filters:

Collection 2
Archival Object 1
Composition (Music) 2
Church music 1
Composers 1
Correspondence 1
Music 1
∨ more