British composer and pianist Kenneth Leighton was born in Wakefield on 2 October 1929, and was a chorister at Wakefield Cathedral. He studied Classics at Oxford, but also continued his musical studies, including with composer Bernard Rose, and was noticed by Gerald Finzi, Edmund Rubbra and Vaughan Williams. He later studied with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome.
Leighton taught and lectured in music at a variety of establishments, including Leeds, Edinburgh and Oxford Universities, but also performed and broadcast as a pianist. His music was typically lyrical, diatonic, chromatic, contrapuntal and rhythmically inventive. Socially, Leighton treasured privacy, peace and quietness, and wasn't interested in self-promotion. His students included Donald Runnicles, Nigel Osborne and James MacMillan.
He died on 24 August 1988 and was buried in the Glen Sannox cemetary on the Isle of Arran.
A selection of M&V articles about Kenneth Leighton
CD Spotlight. Highly Interesting - British music for cello and piano, enthralls Gerald Fenech. 'An important addition to the genre's discography in excellent performances, sound and annotations ...'
Ensemble. Centres of Excellence - Roderic Dunnett looks back to the 2017 Three Choirs Festival at Worcester, and forward to 2018 in Hereford
CD Spotlight. What treasures! - British music for flute and piano, enjoyed by the late Howard Smith. 'Smith and Rhodes present definitive, warmly recorded performances of this gorgeous, all-UK repertory, some of it apparently on disc for the first time.'
CD Spotlight. Brilliant Playing - Organ music played by John Kitchen, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. '... a curiously varied programme ...'
CD Spotlight. Likeable Discs - Music for cello and piano, heard by Howard Smith. '... affectionately presented throughout.'
CD Spotlight. Style and Imagination - Paul McCreesh's Christmas album, recommended by Keith Bramich. '... high-quality British Christmas music from the Gabrieli Consort ...'
CD Spotlight. Extremely Well-crafted - British music for oboe and strings, heard by Patric Standford. '... a particularly valuable contribution to the catalogue.'
Ensemble. A Generous Weekend - The third William Alwyn Festival, attended by Patric Standford
Outstanding Playing - An organ recital by John Kitchen, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Triumphant Climax - Five organists at two organs open this year's series of Derby Cathedral organ recitals, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Breezy Treatment - Familiar and unfamiliar music from The Sitwell Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Mice in the Manger - A selection of Christmas music, enjoyed by George Balcombe. '... an amazing collection.'
Ensemble. Delightful music-making - A concert by the Sitwell Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Choral centenary - Malcolm Miller enjoys two seldom-performed works by Berthold Goldschmidt
Planning your collection - Leighton -