Castleford composer, writer, actor and teacher remembered

Castleford-born composer, writer, artist, actor and teacher Richard Stoker,  died on March 24, aged 82, after a short and unexpected illness.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 4:27 pm

Mr Stoker was born in 1938. He started playing the piano at six; by the age of seven he was composing.

He was an only child, and lived with his father Bower Morell Stoker and his mother, Winifred Stoker in Hill Road.

He went to Huddersfield Technical College at the age of 15 to study composition before going on to London.

After initial encouragement from Arthur Benjamin and Benjamin Britten, he studied under Lennox Berkeley at the Royal Academy of Music.

Mr Stoker won the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1962 and studied under Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He was a professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music for 26 years, also a tutor there, 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, was a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and edited Composer magazine between 1969 and 1980.

Mr Stoker said the piano was his favourite instrument, with the guitar a close second: he produced a number of pieces for both instruments.

His music is broadcast regularly, performed worldwide and is available on CD and album.

In his later life Mr Stoker became an actor in films and on TV appearing in more than 150 productions, including Titanic, Dredd and Pirates of the Caribbean,

He is survived by his second wife Dr Gill Stoker whom he met in 1984 and married in 1986.