Gwyn Arch

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Gwyn Arch
Born4 May 1931 Edit this on Wikidata
Southampton Edit this on Wikidata
DiedJune 2021 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 89–90)
OccupationComposer, choir director Edit this on Wikidata
Awards
  • Member of the Order of the British Empire Edit this on Wikidata

Gwyn Arch MBE (4 May 1931 – June 2021) was a British musical arranger, composer, and choir director.

Early life[edit]

Arch was born in Southampton on 4 May 1931, to a Welsh father.[1] He was raised in Birmingham and then Ipswich, where he attended secondary school.[1] After national service he studied English at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge.[2][3] He played in jazz bands there and at University of Oxford,[3] where he took a postgraduate diploma in education.[2]

Career[edit]

Arch taught English at Rickmansworth Grammar School for nine years, studying musical composition at Trinity College London in his spare time.[3] He was Director of Music at Bulmershe College from 1964 to 1985.[4][5] In the 1960s he arranged music for BBC Home Service radio programmes for schools, and in the 1970s, he made several appearances, as a conductor, on the BBC Television programme Seeing and Believing.[6]

He was musical director of the South Chiltern Choral Society for almost 50 years, retiring in 2014.[7] In 1971 he established the Reading Male Voice Choir and served as the choir's musical director until 2015.[5] He was a Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music, a Composition Fellow of Trinity College London, and for ten years an Associated Board examiner.[5] His oeuvre includes many arrangements of choral works and songs, in a wide variety of genres, for mixed (SATB), male (TTBB), and female (SSA) choirs.[5][8] He marketed many of his arrangements for male voice choirs as sheet music via his company Grove Music.[a][9]

Honours[edit]

Arch was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2006 Birthday Honours, for services to music in Berkshire.[5][10]

The Gwyn Arch Foundation was launched in his memory on 9 April 2022 at a celebration concert featuring several of the choirs he founded. It aims "to support the development and performance of choral music by and for young people within the Thames Valley".[11]

Personal life[edit]

Arch met Jane, subsequently a head teacher, when he was at Oxford University, where he was musical director of the Experimental Theatre Club and she was in the choir.[4] They married two years later, and moved to Sonning Common in 1964.[4] Their elder son David Arch is also a conductor, arranger and composer and is the musical director on the BBC Television show Strictly Come Dancing.[4] Their younger son Jonathan has a daughter Lucy[citation needed] who is a professional cellist, playing regularly with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.[12]

Arch's death was announced on 8 June 2021.[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Not to be confused with the Grove Dictionary of Music.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Gwyn Arch | composer". www.hebu-music.com. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b "The man who made music come alive". Henley Standard. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Gwyn Arch". Good Music. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d "Our boy's the musical star of Strictly but hates fame". Henley Standard. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Gwyn Arch - arranger, choral director biography". Singers.com. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  6. ^ "Gwyn Arch". BBC Genome. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Fond farewell to retiring musical director of the South Chiltern Choral Society". BerkshireLive. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Helbling Publishing (search for "Gwyn Arch")".
  9. ^ "TTBB Music for Male Voice Choirs". Grove Music. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  10. ^ "No. 58014". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 17 June 2006. p. 14.
  11. ^ "Gwyn Arch Foundation".
  12. ^ "Lucy Arch, Cello".
  13. ^ "Sad to learn that the composer Gwyn Arch has died". Banks Music. Retrieved 8 June 2021.