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In memoria: Byrd scholar Alan Brown

Alan Brown, PhD (Cantab), LRAM, FRCO, was born in London in 1941 and was for thirty-three years successively Lecturer, and then Reader, in the Music Department of Sheffield University. He studied with Avril Dankworth, at the Royal Academy of Music and at Cambridge, where his teachers included David Willcocks, Peter le Huray and Thurston Dart.

Headshot of Dr Alan Brown

From 1965 to 1973 he was a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and was an accomplished pianist, harpsichordist and organist.

In his academic role, Alan edited the complete keyboard works of William Byrd and a volume of Elizabethan keyboard music for Musica Britannia (and revised a number of others) and two volumes of Latin motets for The Byrd Edition.

Among his compositions are four carols published by OUP, Four Medieval Poems for male voices and keyboard (written for the chorus of Fitzwilliam College), a Duo for cello and piano, written for his daughter Rosamund, Anima for recorder and string quartet, and a Te Deum for voices and small orchestra, first performed at St Mark’s Church, Broomhill, Sheffield whilst he was their organist.

He also wrote Lines from In Memoriam, a setting for words by Tennison, first performed at Fitzwilliam College by James Bowman (countertenor), John Turner (recorder), Jonathan Price (cello) and Ian Thompson (harpsichord) and since professionally published.

Alan died on 10 February 2024 at Sheffield Northern General Hospital after a short illness.


Alan's contributions to Byrd scholarship also include the co-edited volume with Richard Turbet, Byrd Studies (Cambridge, 1992).

Byrd's Elegy for his mentor, Thomas Tallis, 'Ye Sacred Muses'. The ByrdCentral team would like to thank Alan for his contributions to Byrd scholarship. We send our sincerest sympathies to his family and loved ones.


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