Percy Buck

by popularity
Organ Sonata No.1, Op.3Organ Sonata No.2, Op.9
Sir Percy Carter Buck (25 March 1871 – 3 October 1947) was an English music educator, writer, organist, and composer. He was born in London, and studied at Merchant Taylors' School and the Royal College of Music. He was the organist at Worcester College, Oxford (1891–94), Wells Cathedral (1896–99), and Bristol Cathedral (1899–1901). He was then appointed as director of music at Harrow School and held that post until 1927. During his time at Harrow Buck served on the editorial board of the ten volume anthology Tudor Church Music beginning a clandestine relationship with Sylvia Townsend Warner, whose father was a History master at the school. Buck was more than twenty-two years older than Warner when the affair began; he was aged 41 married and a father of five children. From 1917 Warner, who was to pursue a career as a poet and novelist after the publication of her first novel, Lolly Willowes in 1926, also worked as one of the editors of Tudor Church Music. From 1910 to 1920, Buck was Professor of Music at Trinity College, Dublin; this was a non-residential post.
In 1925, Buck became the King Edward Professor of Music in the University of London; he was also teaching at the Royal College of Music. From 1927 to 1936, he was music adviser to the London County Council. He received a knighthood in 1937, on retiring from his post of Professor in London. He continued his duties at the Royal College of Music. In 1926 he started the RCM Junior Department with Miss Angela Bull, a "feeder system" for students, a scheme financed by the London County Council. Several successful students have gone through this program and it continues to this day. Buck taught at the RCM after his retirement from the University of London supervising teachers and taking the occasional composition student.
Buck's compositions include a piano quintet, a string quintet, a violin sonata, a piano quartet, three organ sonatas, and several piano pieces and songs. He edited The English Psalter (London, 1925) with Charles Macpherson. The manuscripts of his early works were destroyed during the Second World War. He is possibly best remembered for his Oxford Song Book (1929), and his Psychology for Musicians (1944).
Buck was on the editorial board for OUP's Tudor Church Music and revised the Oxford History of Music, for which he edited an introductory volume (1929).