Sebastian Forbes

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Sebastian Forbes (born 22 May 1941)[1] is a musical composer, conductor, founder of the Aeolian Singers and professor of music at the University of Surrey.[2] He comes from a musical family (his father being the Scottish violist, Watson Forbes) and he was taught by Martindale Sidwell.[3]


After being trained as a singer by Martindale Sidwell and encountering chamber and classical music through his father, Sebastian studied at the Royal Academy of Music and then to Cambridge University, where he sang with the King's College chapel choir.[3]

After Cambridge, he founded the Aeolian Singers in 1963.[3] He then became a producer for the BBC until moving back to Cambridge in 1968. That year, he lectured at Bangor University and remained there until 1972, when he moved to Surrey.[1]

The University of Surrey had completed its move from the original campus in Battersea in 1970, so the music department was very new. He has been with the university since then, being made a professor in 1981 and then the Head of the Music Department for the next ten years.[3] In 2006, he was made Professor Emeritus.[1]


He has composed numerous compositions for the viola, such as Crete Songs for baritone (or mezzo-soprano), viola and piano (1966), St Andrews Solo for viola solo (2009) and Viola Fantasy for viola solo (1979).

In 1977, he did a commission for St Matthew's Church, Northampton called Quam Dilecta.

Gervase de Peyer, the clarinetist played one of his clarinet concertos.[4]

His principal compositions include five string quartets (from 1969 to 2000), Death's Dominion (1971), Symphony in Two Movements (1972), Sonata for 21 (1975), Voices of Autumn (1975), Sonata for 8 (1978), Violin Fantasy No 2 (1979), Evening Canticles (1980-2008), Sonata for 17 (1987), Bristol Mass (1990), Hymn to St Etheldreda (1995), Sonata-Rondo for piano (1996), Rawsthorne Reflections for organ (1998), Sonata for 15 (2001), Interplay 2 for four pianists (2002), Duo for clarinet and piano (2003), Hurrah! for Brunel, cantata for young voices (2007) and St Andrews Solo for viola (2009).[1][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Sebastian Forbes from Debrett's, retrieved 3 May 2013
  2. ^ a b Full Biography Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine from Scottish Music Centre, retrieved 3 May 2013
  3. ^ a b c d Sebastian Forbes from Bach Cantatas, retrieved 3 May 2013
  4. ^ Pamela Weston. "De Peyer, Gervase". In Deane L. Root. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)

External links[edit]