Obituary: Roy Teed (1928-2017)

Roy Teed
Roy Teed 1928-2017

Alan Bullard writes:

All regulars at concerts in Colchester will remember the ‘Bravo’ voiced in stentorian tones at the end of every performance. The voice was that of Roy Teed, who has died aged 89.

Roy was born in Surrey and, after national service with the RAF, studied composition with Lennox Berkeley at the Royal Academy of Music. Working in London and latterly in Colchester, Roy pursued a varied career as composer, accompanist, organist, adjudicator and ABRSM examiner. He taught at both the Royal Academy of Music and Colchester Institute School of Music for many years, and at the latter presented the Roy Teed Cup for Composition, which has been awarded yearly for over 30 years to student composers, some of whom are now well-known in the profession.

For many years he was the piano accompanist for the baritone Norman Tattersall (1924-2001) and the duo gave recitals all over the UK and on Radio 3, and worked with many other musicians of the time. In the early 1950s the duo, together with Francis Routh, founded the Redcliffe Concerts of British Music, which were responsible for bringing many young composers into the public eye, and in similar vein Roy was involved in the early days of Colchester New Music in the 1980s, regularly appearing both as composer and performer. More recently he worked with the tenor Gordon Pullin, who made a CD of his songs (with accompanist John Cooper) to celebrate Roy’s 80th birthday.

For many years he was President of the Colchester Symphony Orchestra and always wrote the extremely informative programme notes for their concerts, and the Orchestra plans to celebrate what would have been his 90th birthday next year with a concert in his memory.

As a composer he was prolific, writing numerous songs (often for his duo with Norman Tattersall), many of them setting texts by their mutual acquaintance James Kirkup (1918-2009), and several choral cantatas and shorter choral works. Larger-scale works include an opera (‘The Overcoat’), a Piano Concerto, a Recorder Concerto, and many chamber works for a range of forces. His Piano Trio was first performed at a Colchester New Music concert, and his Theme and Variations by the Colchester Symphony Orchestra.

All who knew Roy will remember him as a characterful, friendly and caring man, who loved company and always had an entertaining fund of stories, regaled in a very carrying and slightly gruff voice! He will be greatly missed.

Roy is survived by his wife Jenny, their three children Paul, Lucy and Trudy, and a granddaughter, Victoria.

Roy Norman Teed, b. Purley 18 May 1928, d. Colchester 17 June 2017


3 thoughts on “Obituary: Roy Teed (1928-2017)

  1. As a student in Colchester from 1965 to 1970, I remember Roy very well – yes, that stentorian voice that Alan Bullard mentioned. My madrigal group sang some of Roy’s compositions and I remember him as a lovely, gentle man.

  2. I randomly came upon this obituary as I was searching for suitable music for an orchestra that has recently started in Wivenhoe. As I was doing so, the name Roy Teed appeared and it sounded familar. I vaguely recalled the name ‘Roy Teed’ on from an old ABRSM exam. Yes! It was the same Roy Teed. I still have the handwritten feedback. And the exam? My first, grade 3 trumpet exam taken in 1971, when I was fifteen. And sadly, I too live in Colchester.

  3. I gave some piano recitals for Colchester New Music in the 1980s, playing (amongst other works) all three sonatas by Eric Hudes, who lived in nearby Braintree, and four performances of the Sonata No. 1 by Alan Parsons. In a sense, Roy was the composer who started me off on playing 20th-century piano music when I was a child, because a short piece by him called ‘A Study in Time’ was on the ABRSM syllabus for my Grade 1 piano exam, which I took in March 1972. About half a century later I can still remember the piece clearly, as I found it interesting, and although some of the dissonances initially seemed perverse to me, I soon got used to them. It was a useful little piece to stretch the mind of a 9-year-old beginner pianist!

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