Castleford-born composer Richard Stoker has died

Castleford-born composer, writer, actor and teacher Richard Stoker,  died on March 24, aged 82, after a short and unexpected illness.

Composer Richard Stoker, who has died, aged 82

Mr Stoker was born in 1938. He started playing the piano at six; by the age of seven he was composing. After initial encouragement from Arthur Benjamin and Benjamin Britten, he studied under Lennox Berkeley at the Royal Academy of Music.

He won the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1962 and studied under Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He was a professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music for 26 years, also a tutor there, and later became hon treasurer and a founder member of the Royal Academy of Music Guild.

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He was also an Associate of the Royal College of Music, was a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and edited Composer magazine between 1969 and 1980.

Mr Stoker said the piano was his favourite instrument, with the guitar a close second: he produced a number of pieces for both instruments. Among his other works are operas, a piano concerto, three string quartets, three piano trios, song cycles, choral works, orchestral works and organ music.

His music is broadcast regularly, performed worldwide and is available on CD and album.

In his later life Mr Stoker became an actor in films and on TV appearing in more than 150 productions, including Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dark Shadows, Last Christmas, Dredd and MotherFatherSon.

He was also an author and wrote two novels, short stories, poetry, and three plays (unpublished); as an artist he exhibited some of his drawings and paintings.