Death of a Liverpool composer, 61

Death of a Liverpool composer, 61


norman lebrecht

April 19, 2018

James Wishart, lecturer in composition at the University of Liverpool, has died of a stroke at 61.

A reticent, private man, he was content for his music to be appreciated locally.


  • R says:

    23 Songs for a Madwoman is nothing short of brilliant and I hope stands as a memorial to his art.

  • Rob Keeley says:

    Very sad. 61 is way too young. I was thinking about him only the other day. Met him WAY back in 1981 while I was still a student, soon after he’d just got the Liverpool post, full of enthusiasm and busy as pianist (Stockhausen’s ‘Mantra’), conductor (something by Louis Andriessen for open strings) as well as his compositions. He worked himself to the bone for his students, utterly uninterested in fame, or brown-nosing. Remembering above all James’ kindness. RIP.

  • Ric sims says:

    I want to echo Rob’s sentiments. I studied with James at Liverpool from 1986 – 1989 for my M.Mus. He was arguably the most important formative influence on my musical thought – perhaps more so than Louis Andriessen with whom I studied afterwards and who undoubtedly also left a significant mark.

    James’ was of course an accomplished and original musical voice and his advocacy of new music, amongst which that of his students, was strong and persuasive. But it his generosity towards his students and the energy he put into supporting them that I shall most remember.

    The world is somehow paler and less vibrant with his passing.