Hugh S. Roberton

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Sir Hugh Stevenson Roberton (23 February 1874 – 7 October 1952) was a Scottish composer and Britain's leading choral-master.

Roberton was born in Glasgow, where, in 1906, he founded the Glasgow Orpheus Choir. For five years before that it was the Toynbee Musical Association. A perfectionist, he expected the highest standards of performance from its members. Its voice was a choir voice, its individual voices not tolerated. He set new standards in choral technique and interpretation. For almost fifty years until it disbanded in 1951, on the retirement of its founder, the Glasgow Orpheus Choir had no equal in Britain and toured widely enjoying world acclaim. Their repertoire included many Scottish folk songs arranged for choral performance, and Paraphrases, as well as Italian madrigals, English motets and the music of the Russian Orthodox Church. The choir also performed the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Felix Mendelssohn, Peter Cornelius, Johannes Brahms and others.

He wrote the choral work All in the April Evening (words by Katharine Tynan) and the popular songs Westering Home and Mairi's Wedding.[1]

Roberton was knighted in the 1931 New Year's Honours.[2] He was a pacifist and member of the Peace Pledge Union. For this reason both he and the Glasgow Orpheus Choir were banned by the BBC from broadcasting during the Second World War.

The Australian politician and diplomat Hugh Roberton was his son.


  1. ^ Traditional Scottish Songs - Mhàiri's Wedding retrieved 12 Sept 2011
  2. ^ "No. 33675". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1930. pp. 1–18.

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