Leighton, Kenneth, 1929-1988

Kenneth Leighton, b. Wakefield 1929, d. Edinburgh 1988
Obituary, "The Times" (London, England), Saturday, August 27, 1988; pg. 10; Issue 63171

Ninth Reid Professor of the Theory of Music at the University of Edinburgh


Period in office: 

Kenneth Leighton was born in Wakefield on 2 October 1929, was a chorister at Wakefield Cathedral and educated at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.  In 1946 while at school he gained the LRAM Piano Performer's Diploma
In 1947 he went up to The Queen's College, Oxford, on a Hastings Scholarship in Classics; in 1951 he graduated both BA in Classics and Music.  In the same year he won the Mendelssohn Scholarship and went to Rome to study with Petrassi.
In 1955 he was appointed Lecturer in Music at the University of Edinburgh where he was made Senior Lecturer and then Reader;  in 1968 he returned to Oxford as University Lecturer in Music and Fellow of Worcester College.
In October 1970 he was appointed Reid Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh, the post which he held until his death in 1988.
Kenneth Leighton was one of the most distinguished of British post-war composers; over 10 compositions are published, many of which were written to commission, and his music is widely performed and broadcast both in Britain and abroad.
As a pianist he was a frequent recitalist and broadcaster, both as soloist and in chamber music.  He recorded his piano music for the British Music Society and conducted many performance and broadcasts of his own music.  His discography is extensive and expanding.

His original manuscript scores and recordings of first performance of many of his works are in the Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh.