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The conservative twentieth century English composer Gordon Jacob was born in London on 5 July 1895 and studied at Dulwich College. He served in the trenches as a member of the infantry in World War I, and was captured in 1917. After his release and a year studying journalism, he studied composition, music theory and conducting at the Royal College of Music in London.
A skillful arranger, Jacob was asked (while still a student) to make an arrangement for full orchestra of the English Folk Song Suite by its composer Vaughan Williams, and in the 1940s he was commissioned to orchestrate Elgar's Organ Sonata. His books on orchestration are still used widely by students.
Jacob wrote for Sadlers Wells in the 1930s, and also wrote light music for a comedy radio show during World War II. In the 1950s his fanfare arrangement of the British National Anthem was played at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
He taught at the Royal College of Music from 1924 until 1966, with students including Malcolm Arnold, Ruth Gipps, Imogen Holst and Cyril Smith. He also taught briefly at Birkbeck College and Morley College.
Gordon Jacob died in Saffron Walden on 8 June 1984. Arrangements for concert wind band (such as his 1951 Music for a Festival and the Fantasia for Euphonium and Band), have helped to keep his reputation alive.
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