Philip Brett

A Revered Music Teacher  17.10.1937 – 16.10.2002

Many were saddened to learn of the death, in Los Angeles, of Philip Brett, who was born at 9, Rufford Road. After his family left, Shirley Moore lived in the same house for 50 years. Her mother told her that he had a baby grand piano in the front room, apparently given by Lady Manvers. His mother was a teacher at Perlethorpe and at other schools in our area and his father worked at Ollerton Colliery.

Philip, died one day short of his 65th birthday, was a conductor and respected musicologist, whose musical career can be traced back to his membership of the choir school at Southwell Minster. He went on to King’s College, Cambridge, gaining a BA in 1958 and a Mus.B. in 1961.

While at Cambridge he became friendly with novelist, E.M. Forster, author of Room with a view and A Passage to India, both of which have been made into films.

After spending some time at the University of California, Berkeley. Philip returned to Cambridge to complete his PhD which included a thesis on William Byrd, who is acknowledged as one of the finest Tudor composers.

Philip taught at Berkeley for 24 years and then spent 10 years at the University of California, Riverside, where, as Head of the Music Department, he was an inspiring influence on his students and on the university as a whole. His last year was spent at the University of California, Los Angeles.

As a conductor he received several coveted awards in the US. In addition, Philip wrote interesting articles on Benjamin Britten, the 20th Century English composer, who is perhaps best known for his operas, Peter Grimes and Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Throughout his working life, Philip established a reputation as a courteous man of great charm and as a widely respected teacher.


Written by Denis Wood for the Acorn                                                                   Photograph acknowledge Wikipedia 

In 1996, the Gay and Lesbian Study Group of the American Musicology Society introduced the Philip Brett Award to annually honour exceptional musical work linked to LGBT regardless of country or language.

In 2008, a Memorial Peace Garden (traditional Japanese design) was dedicated for Philip by the Music department at the University of California.