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Herbert Murrill (Composer, Arranger)

Born: May 11, 1909 - London, England
Died: July 24, 1952 - London, England


The English organist, choral conductor, broadcasting executive, and composer, Herbert (Henry John) Murrill, studied from 1925 to 1928 at the Royal Academy of Music in London with York Bowen, Stanley Marchant, and Alan Bush. Thereafter he was from 1928 to 1931 an organ scholar at Worcester College in Oxford, where he took courses with Ernest Walker and Sir Hugh Allen.

Herbert Murrill' occupied various posts as organist and choral director, and was Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music from 1933 until his death in 1952. In 1936 he joined the staff of the BBC, where he was program organiser in 1942. After working in the British intelligence service from 1942 to 1946, he returned in 1948 to the BBC as assistant head, reaching the post of Head of Music in 1950.

Musical Works

Herbert Murrill's relatively small output was in a modern vein. His affinities were Francophile and mildly middle-Stravinskian, both influences tempered by an English kind of neo-classicism. His works include a jazz opera, Man in Cage, which was performed in London in 1930 whilst he was still at university. He wrote film scores for And So To Work (1936) and The Daily Round (1937), both early films from the director Richard Massingham. He wrote two cello concertos (1935; El cant dels ocells, 1950), he was married to the cellist Vera Canning and some chamber and choral works, piano pieces, and songs. However, his most frequently performed works now are from his works for church choir and organ: his setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in E major (published in 1947), an organ piece called Carillon and his arrangement for organ of the orchestral march Crown Imperial by William Walton.

Source: Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); Wikipedia Website (based on R. Crichton, 'Murrill, Herbert' in Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy; Accessed: February 4, 2007)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2007)

Herbert Murrill: Short Biography | Piano Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Links to other Sites

Herbert Murrill (Wikipedia)




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