Death of an eminent English composer, 91

The composer John Joubert, whose carols decorate many an English Christmas, is being widely mourned today.

He leaves more than 160 works including three symphonies, four concertos and seven operas.

Born in South Africa of French an Dutch descent, he won a post-War scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, followed by teaching positions at the universities of Hull and Birmingham.

His opera Jane Eyre was premiered in 2016 by the English Symphony Orchestra.


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  • A much underrated composer. “Torches” is a great carol, which must be known be millions of people the globe over, but the symphonies and many other works are of equal excellence. I used to see him regularly taking his place in the lower circle of Birmingham Town Hall for CBSO concerts, when I was a school boy sitting behind the orchestra in the cheap seats.

    • Yes, “Born in South Africa of French an [sic] Dutch descent” is English, didn’t you know that?

      And “There is no Rose” is not a carol, it’s more of a motet. Carols descend from dance tunes.

  • As a teenager I sang with Cantamus Girls’ Choir and performed compositions written especially for us by John Joubert … His ‘Autumn Rain’ is magical!

  • Thank you for posting. A lovely, wonderful, under-rated composer. Here’s hoping his chamber music has a revival.

  • I studied under John at Hull and have always regarded him as the greatest musical influence in my life. A real musician and a true gentleman

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