Barry Ernest Booth was born and raised in what was then (laughingly) referred to as The West Riding of Yorkshire...
Soon realising he was the son of an unimportant coal-miner,
and that life might consequently hold scant glamour for such a boy, he became a cathedral chorister in Leeds,
where he learned much about melody, harmony, and what it meant to be attractive to men
(more, in fact, than the parson preached about)!
Baz was the first chorister to be awarded the Sir Edward Bairstow scholarship which enabled him to receive tuition in organ and general musicianship from Dr Melville Cook.
Here is the lineage of Barry's musical instruction.
SIR JOHN FREDERICK BRIDGE
(b December 5, 1844, Oldbury, Worcestershire, d March 18, 1924, London).Buried: Wallakirk, Glass Parish (near Huntly), Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
A composer and conductor, Bridge served as a boy chorister; organist at Rochester Cathedral; Manchester Cathedral (1869-75); Professor of Harmony at Owens College, Manchester (1872-5); and deputy organist at Westminster Abbey (1875-82). He was knighted in 1897.
Sir John Frederick Bridge taught...
SIR EDWARD BAIRSTOW
(b Huddersfield, 1874; d York, 1946).
Edward Bairstow was born in Huddersfield in 1874.
After a period teaching at Windsor, in 1893 he became an apprentice to Frederick Bridge at Westminster Abbey, where he stayed for six years as pupil and assistant.
He also held an appointment as Organist and Choirmaster at All Saints', Norfolk Square, London until 1899, when he went to Lancashire to take up the post of Organist at Wigan Parish Church.
In 1906 he moved to Leeds Parish Church and was appointed Organist of York Minster in 1913, a post he held until his death in 1946. In York he maintained the choral services at a high level and greatly widened the repertoire.
He took the Doctorate of Music examinations at the University of Durham in 1902 and became Professor of Music there in 1929. This did not necessitate a move from York to Durham, for he was only required to give one lecture each year in order to fulfil his commitment.
He was knighted in 1932, and received the Degree of Hon. D.Litt. from Leeds University in 1936.
Sir Edward Bairstowe taught...
DR MELVILLE COOK
(b Gloucester, 18 June 1912; d Cheltenham, 22 May 1993).
English organist and conductor. He was a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral, 1923-8, and later studied with Brewer, Sumsion and Bairstow, gaining the FRCO in 1931 and the DMus from Durham University in 1940.
He was organist of Leeds Parish Church from 1937 to 1956 (interrupted by war service), founder of the Leeds Guild of Singers and also conductor of the Halifax Choral Society.
In 1956 he became cathedral organist at Hereford, where he conducted the choral society and was responsible for the Three Choirs Festivals held in the city. He emigrated to Canada in 1966, serving as organist of All Saints Church, Winnipeg, and conductor of the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir before moving to Toronto, to the Metropolitan United Church, the following year.
In Toronto he organized concerts and recitals as well as a series of oratorio performances with the Metropolitan Festival Choir - during his years in Canada Cook generally championed the cause of English music, and his conducting of Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius was particularly admired.
He also taught at McMaster University and toured as a recitalist and adjudicator. Cook built up a fine reputation as a recitalist, both in Britain and overseas, and his recordings, notably those at Leeds Parish Church and Hereford Cathedral, testify to his fluent technique and the elegant control of his playing.
His compositions are limited to a few works for choir.
He retired to England in 1986.
Dr Melville Cook taught...
And they say educational standards are declining in this country...
From 1948 to 1955 Baz attended Rothwell Grammar School.
His time there lacked distinction to a remarkable degree.
However, he was awarded a County Music Scholarship and so eventually, testicles having dropped and treble voice having broken he was able to depart for brave London, there to become a student of piano and composition at the renowned Royal Academy of Music from 1955 to 1958.
Following his graduation, the Ministry of Defence made it clear to him that National Service could no longer be avoided and so when the opportunity to join the Band of Her Majesty's Life Guards presented itself he grasped it firmly with both feet and became Her Majesty's very own cosmic pianist.
He signed on for an additional third year (as was then the requirement) in order to occupy the post of pianist with the band.
Although it was a mounted band, as pianist he was not required to undertake training in equitation. In those days there were no pianos that could be played on horse-back (nor indeed horses able comfortably to carry pianos). Consequently he has never experienced a truly meaningful relationship with any four-legged friend.
Instead, his duties were restricted to performing with an orchestra for royal banquets at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, or grooving with a dance band for parties in the officers' mess.
However, it eventually became clear that his piano playing could never seriously be regarded as an effective deterrent in military conflict, and so, leaving the army, he embarked on an extended series of back-to-back pop-music tours during the early years of the 'swinging' sixties'.
It was at this time that he became musical director to the legendary Roy Orbison,
a position he held for several years during which time he witnessed, at close hand, the awesome rise of Beatlemania and the equally awesome parties hosted by the fab four.
VideoRoy Orbison - Monument Concert, March 25, 1965 - Watch out for Baz at 0:57ish.
Having passed through this hooligan phase relatively unscathed, he began to work in other musical fields; theatre, television, film, radio, recording and commercial jingles, as pianist, conductor, composer, arranger and producer.
Over the years he has worked with an extraordinary variety of performers including - Vera Lynn, Rolf Harris, Rita Moreno, Sir Alec Guinness, Ted Ray, The Two Ronnies, Mike Yarwood, Cilla Black, Ron Moody, Dana Gillespie, Rupert Davies, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Ketty Lester, Richard Gere, Chris Montez, Tommy Roe, Ernestine Anderson, Elaine Paige, Tom Jones, Libby Morris, Tommy Cooper, Elaine Delmar, Gilbert O' Sullivan, Phyllis Diller, Elaine Strich, Val Doonican, Hughie Green, The Sadista Sisters, John Renbourne, Bert Jansch,
Yoshikazu Iwamoto, Kenny Baker, Millicent Martin, Kenneth Williams, Paul Nicholas, Chet Baker, Maria Ewing, Tommy Steele, Gracie Fields, Isobel Bailley, Sir Alan Bates, Ken Dodd, Gillian Lynne, Andrea Bocelli, Don McLean, Keith Harris, Ned Sherrin, Alexis Korner, Ray Davies, Jack Jones, Sir George Martin, Lorraine Chase, Kenny Everett, Barry Cryer, Wayne Sleep, Paul McCartney, Topol, Bruce Forsyth, Morecombe and Wise, Tim Buckley, Max Bygraves and a host of others too humorous to mention.
(He learned and developed the gentle art of name-dropping while working with Larry Adler, the undisputed world grand master.)
During the late sixties he was Musical Director / Arranger on the twice weekly T.V. series 'Five o'Clock Club', which ran for several years, and wrote an award winning cinema commercial jingle for Bri-nylon.
In the seventies he was Musical Director/Arranger for a twenty-six week series starring Rolf Harris for British Columbia Television in Vancouver, following which he became Musical Director for the long running BBC television series 'Rolf On Saturday O.K?' and later for the long walking BBC touring radio series 'Rolf's Walkabout'.
He was musical director for the original UK production of Grease, starring Richard Gere.
His recording credits as Musical Director/Composer/Arranger include LPs by Roy Orbison, John Renbourne, The Sadista Sisters, The Johnstons, Kenneth Williams, Terence Johns, Libby Morris, Stanley Black, Topol, Rolf Harris.
He composed two ballets with choreography by Gillian Lynne (Breakaway, for Scottish Theatre Ballet, and The Little Prince, for the launch of a new Peugeot car).
His work as record producer and composer includes :
He has travelled to many parts of the world as guest conductor in concerts of his own music, appearing with orchestras including London Symphony Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra,
Hamilton Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Youth Orchestra and others.
He was engaged to play piano for the birthday parties of :
Sir Richard Burton (50th)
Sir Anthony Hopkins (60th)
Anton Mosiman (50th)
and many others.
He is also available to play for weddings, funerals, christenings, bar mitzvahs, wakes, cremations, anniversaries, religious festivals, Lodge meetings, state banquets, coronations, UN summits, Second Comings and childrens' parties.
In 1968 he recorded an album Diversions! of his own songs with lyrics by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, which was reissued in January 2002.
In 2002 he was commissioned to write a Jubilee Cantata, Better The World With A Song, which was performed in July in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex.
In his work he has always been keen to pay homage, indeed fromage, to a wide range of musical styles. Cheese interests him.
In his spare time he practices as a humour pathologist, visiting comedy venues on the look out for jokes which have died and seeking to determine the cause of death.
His family tree can be traced back as far as the reign of George the Formby.
You can check out Baz's sibeliusmusic web-site here