Born in 1920, Geoffrey Bush was a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral, and later educated at Lancing College and Balliol College, Oxford. He jointed the staff of the Extra-mural Department of Oxford University in 1947, moving to London University in 1952. Elected Chairman for the year of the Composers Guild of Great Britain, in 1964 Geoffrey Bush visited the USSR as delegate of the Guild. From 1952-1987 Geoffrey Bush was the Staff Tutor in Music at the Extra-Mural Department of London University.
An ardent champion of English music, he wrote widely on the subject, also contributing regularly to BBC Radio 3 programmes, including Music Magazine and Music Weekly. Geoffrey Bush's catalogue of works is far-ranging in scope and content, including 2 symphonies, many smaller scale orchestral pieces, and music for chamber ensemble. Bush's music is as varied as his tastes and interests. His Symphony 1 (1954) was first performed at the Cheltenham Festival in July 1954 by the City of Birmingham Symphony orchestra, conducted by Rudolf Schwarz. This symphony, as with the structures used in much of his work, has its roots in neo-classicism. It was performed at the Proms in 1958 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maurice Miles. Symphony 2 ("The Guildford") was commissioned for the 700th anniversary of the City of Guildford in 1957.
Among the most popular titles from Geoffrey Bush's catalogue are the Concerto for Light Orchestra (1958), and his two choral works A Christmas Cantata (1947), and In Praise of Mary (1955). His music for theatre is often witty, as shown in the scintillating one-act opera Lord Arthur Savile's Crime (1972). Perhaps Geoffrey Bush's most characteristic music is for voices: stage-works, choral pieces and solo songs. With a natural affinity for a wide range of texts (from Chaucer to Stevie Smith via Jonson, Wilde and Virginia Woolf) - his music always serves to embellish and illuminate the given word.
Geoffrey Bush died in February 1998.
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