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Percy Whitlock
Percy Whitlock
Percy Whitlock

Percy Whitlock was born in Chatham on 1 June 1903. Between 1911 and 1930 he was associated with Rochester Cathedral (as Assistant Organist from 1920). In 1920 Whitlock took a Kent Scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London, studying composition with Stanford and Vaughan Williams and organ with Henry Ley. He then went on to be organist and choirmaster at St. Mary’s Parish Church in Chatham from 1924 to 1928 when he was forced, due to ill- health, to cut back his activities, and moved to St. Matthew’s Parish Church, Borstal, near Rochester.

His move to Bournemouth in 1930 resulted in greater awareness of his accomplishment both as a performer and composer. There he worked as Director of Music at St. Stephen’s Church until 1935. From 1932-46 he was Borough organist, and composed much of his orchestral output for the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra.

Whitlock’s reputation was not only as an outstanding organist-composer, but also as a broadcaster for the BBC, teacher and journalist, writing for the Musical Times, The Organ, and Musical Opinion.

Percy Whitlock died on 1 May 1946, and much of his music lay forgotten until, in 1983, the Percy Whitlock Trust endeavoured to bring his music to public attention. To date the Trust has brought back into print the Sonata in C minor and Two Fantasie Chorals, and supported Oxford University Press in reprinting the Plymouth Suite, Complete Shorter Organ Music, and A Whitlock Organ Album.

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