Composers of Light Music

William Alwyn

1905 - 1985

Nationality: English

William Alwyn was born in Northampton in November 1905. He will be best remembered as the composer of a host of striking British film scores. It is reckoned he wrote over 200 of them. These include Desert Victory, The Way Ahead, The True Glory, Odd Man Out, The History of Mr. Polly, Fallen Idol, The Crimson Pirate, The Million Pound Note, The Winslow Boy, The Card and A Night to Remember.

At the early age of 21 Alwyn was appointed as Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music after he had completed his studies there. He held the post for about 30 years. In recognition of his services to the film industry he was made Fellow of the British Film Academy. He also served as Chairman of the Composers Guild of Great Britain on three occasions and he became a Director of the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society, Vice-President of the Society for the Protection of New Music and Director of the Performing Rights Society.

Along with his film scores, Alwyn wrote a range of symphonic works including five symphonies, a number of concertos for various instruments, four operas and numerous pieces of chamber, orchestral and vocal music. He also wrote regularly for radio and television.

He was awarded the CBE in 1978 in recognition of his services to music and he died at his home in Suffolk on 11th September 1985, a few months before his 80th birthday.

Return to the list of composers, surnames starting with A

Forthcoming events

13 December 2017

  • Handel's Messiah

    • Bristol Ensemble & Choir of Royal Holloway at St George's Bristol Great George Street, Bristol BS1 5RR

15 December 2017

Calendar of events

December 2017

Click an underlined date in the calendar to see the events on that day.

View different months on the main calendar page by using the Previous month or Next month links or by selecting a month and year from the drop-down boxes and pressing the Go to month button.