Obituary: Richard Stoker, composer

Richard Stoker, who has died at 82, was a Castleford-born composer, writer, artist, actor and teacher.

Composer Richard Stoker, who has died, aged 82

Richard Stoker, who has died at 82, was a Castleford-born composer, writer, artist, actor and teacher.

He started playing the piano at six; by the age of seven he was composing.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

An only child, he lived with his father, Bower Morell Stoker, and mother Winifred, in Hill Road, Castleford. He went to Huddersfield Technical College at 15 to study composition before moving on to London.

After initial encouragement from the composers Arthur Benjamin and Benjamin Britten, he studied under Lennox Berkeley at the Royal Academy of Music, winning the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1962, and then under Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He was a professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music for 26 years and later became honorary treasurer and a founder member of the Royal Academy of Music Guild.

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

Citing the piano as his favourite instrument, with the guitar a close second, he produced a number of pieces for both instruments. His music is broadcast regularly and performed worldwide.

In later life he became an actor in films and on TV, taking small roles in more than 150 productions, including Titanic and Pirates of the Caribbean.

He is survived by his second wife, Dr Gill Stoker, whom he married in 1986.