Geoffrey Bush was born in London, became a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral at the age of 8 and studied informally with the composer John Ireland. He moved on to Lancing College and completed his education at Balliol College, Oxford, as Nettleship Scholar and Masefield Memorial Student in Music, graduating BMus (1940) and DMus (1946); he also received a Master of Arts in classics in 1947.
During the Second World War he registered as a conscientious objector, serving as Assistant Warden at the Hostel of the Good Shepherd in Tredegar, Monmouthshire, from 1941 until 1945. He was a member of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship. A fan of detective fiction, Bush co-wrote one of his friend Edmund Crispin's crime novels, Who killed Baker?
Bush taught music initially in the University of Oxford and in the University of London from 1952 for the rest of his career. He wrote extensively on English music, and also had a strong interest in editing and arranging, especially of neglected English composers. Of particular interest were the works and influence of William Sterndale Bennett. Bush died in London from prostate cancer. The experimental filmmaker Paul Bush is his son.
His compositions include 5 operas, 2 symphonies, choral pieces such as his Christmas Cantata and many songs, generally in the lieder style. Music for Strings was composed for the Shropshire Music Service.
CD Recordings (5 of which are devoted entirely to his music) are on Lyrita, Chandos (3), Centaur and JMS.
- Geoffrey Bush - Songs : The Impatient Lover, Upon the loss of his Mistresses, To Electra, Upon Julia's clothes, Greek Love Songs, Spring Songs (five songs), Stevie Smith Songs, Songs of Ben Jonson (three songs), The End of Love, Medieval Lyrics (five songs) - recorded by Simon Wallfisch baritone and Edward Rushton piano. Lyrita Records.
- Anglican Pacifists
- Bruce Shaw Jolly Good Detecting: Humour in English Crime Fiction 2013 0786478861 Page 200 "with fellow composer Geoffrey Bush (1920–1998) is an exception. Lewis Foreman felt it important enough to include it in his 1998 obituary on Geoffrey Bush: “A lifelong fan of detective fiction, he collaborated with his friend the composer Bruce Bruce Montgomery (more familiarly known as 'Edmund Crispin.."
- John Warrack, "Bush, Geoffrey (1920–1998)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; accessed 17 Feb 2008 (subscription required)
- Interview with Geoffrey Bush by Bruce Duffie, 21 October 1991
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