Percy Young (1912 - 2004):
Percy Marshall Young was a highly prolific musical all-rounder, with an unsurpassed international reputation in almost every area of musical activity: to list him as organist, scholar, editor, composer, teacher, adjudicator, historian, writer, and broadcaster is not exhaustive. As an academic director he cut his teeth in Ulster.
He was born in Northwich, Cheshire and educated at Sir John Deane's Grammar School there, winning a scholarship to Christ's Hospital, Horsham, Sussex. In 1930 he went as an organ scholar to Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA in 1933 and MusB in 1934.
His first professional appointment was in Belfast: he was Director of Music at the (relatively) new Stranmillis College, the teacher training establishment, now Stranmillis University College, part of Queen's University, Belfast. On 7 August 1937, at Loughbrickland, County Down, he married Anna Letitia ("Netta") Carson, daughter of James Carson, a schoolteacher; they would have three sons and a daughter. In the same year the family left Ulster on his appointment as music adviser to the local education authority of Stoke-on-Trent. From 1944-1966 he was Music Director at Wolverhampton College of Technology.
Young had a publishing career which spanned 70 years, during which time he published over 50 books and numerous scholarly articles, including being a contributor to the New Grove Dictionary. Although his interests and tastes were extremely wide, he was perhaps best known as an expert on Elgar. He edited two collections of the composer's letters, authored Elgar, OM (1955), a comprehensive life-and-works study; an edition of Elgar's lectures, specialised studies of individual works, and even completed and had performed an opera left incomplete by Elgar, The Spanish Lady. Young also published over twenty compositions of his own.
His numerous awards and distinctions included the freedom of Halle, Germany, whose Handel Festival he attended consecutively for forty years; an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Birmingham, an honorary fellowship of Selwyn College, Cambridge, an Honorary Fellowship of the Institute for Advanced Research in Humanity at Birmingham University. He was a Vice-President of the Elgar Society and a Fellow of the International Institute of Arts and Letters.
|Born:||17 May 1912|
|Died:||9 May 2004|
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
© 2019 Ulster History Circle