English composer and Sibford Ferris resident Guy Woolfenden dies

Guy Woolfenden NNL-150518-172239001
Guy Woolfenden NNL-150518-172239001

An English composer who wrote over 150 scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company has died, aged 79.

Guy Woolfenden, who lived in Sibford Ferris, was head of music for the company for 37 years and also wrote music for programmes on BBC radio, television and ballet.

As a child, he sang at the Queen’s wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh.

Later, he was a horn player for Sadler’s Wells Opera, principal conductor for Liverpool Mozart Orchestra and principal conductor for Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra.

His musical version of The Comedy of Errors, written with Trevor Nunn for the RSC, won the lvor Novello and Society of West End Theatre Awards for the best British musical.

Among the highlights of his career with the RSC were scores for Peter Hall’s history cycle The Wars of the Roses, Trevor Nunn’s 1972 Roman season and Nunn’s productions of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, which opened the Barbican Theatre in 1982.

For BBC Radio 3 he presented programmes about The Beggar’s Opera, Walton’s Façade, and a programme about the composer Roberto Gerhard. He chaired the popular Radio 3 music quiz Full Score for three years.

Birmingham Symphonic Winds gave a special concert at the RSC Swan Theatre last May of all of his compositions for wind band and this was recorded on a double CD and blu-ray DVD.

He is survived by his wife, Jane, and three children.

His son, Stephen, is an assistant director and director who has worked on four of the Harry Potter films.