Timothy Baxter (1935-2021)

Timothy Baxter’s childhood was a life in music with musical parents. He began the piano and cello whilst in school. His formative years were very much centered around the church, first as a choirboy and later as an organist, and so naturally his compositional work started early. The motet, O Most Merciful, was written when he was fifteen years old and heralded a promising career as a composer.

He began his musical studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London specialising in both piano and composition. His initial composition teacher, the South African Priaulx Rainier, was a pivotal and encouraging figure who had the young student enter the Academy’s yearly composition competition, which he won. This early success led to Baxter directing his attention primarily to composition, and so further competition success followed.

Amongst his later teachers in composition were Anthony Milner and Alan Bush, and his attendance at the Dartington Summer School of Music led to contact with a diverse and influential range of composition teachers such as Stefan Wolpe, the Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski, and the American composers Elliott Carter and Aaron Copland.

He has also studied conducting with Peter Gellhorn (BBC and Glyndebourne). And, furthermore, he has a B.Mus. degree from the University of London.

Baxter was also a freelance performer for a number of years, for example with the London Philharmonic Choir, Ballet Rambert, the London Ballet Company, and the Martha Graham Dancers. He has also been vice music director at The Old Vic Theatre and cantor and organist at St. Philip the Apostle, Finchley. As a freelance pianist he worked together with the cellist Jaqueline du Pré.

He was Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1965-1990 and is Fellow of The Royal Academy of Music (FRAM). In addition, he was an international examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music from 1966-2005.

Since 1990, he has lived in Denmark and is a member of the Dansk Komponist Forening and has been in the Vesterbro Komponistforening (Komvest) since 2009.

Baxter has continued to write works for the church, including choral pieces, cantatas, organ works and liturgical arrangements. Furthermore, he has written much chamber music, ballet music, and educational music.

His musical ‘The Birth of Jesus’ has been produced three times at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and has also been recorded.