Ernest Tomlinson
Ernest Tomlinson

Ernest Tomlinson

About Ernest Tomlinson

b. 19 September 1924, Rawtenstall, Lancashire, England. A prolific writer with boundless energy, Tomlinson has been one of the major figures in British light music during the second half of the twentieth century. Delayed by war service in the RAF, his musical career began as a staff arranger for a London publisher after graduating in 1947 with a degree of Bachelor of Music for composition. Tomlinson was soon in demand for radio, television, stage and recording commitments, providing numerous arrangements as well as, occasionally, his own compositions - the first was broadcast in 1949. Many of his own works were first heard with his Ernest Tomlinson Light Orchestra (formed in 1955), and his ‘Little Serenade’ (1955) was destined to become a light music standard. Later the same year his work for the radio play The Story Of Cinderella finally allowed him to become a full-time freelance composer. His north country roots explain Tomlinson’s love of brass bands and choirs, and he has been active in both these areas. ‘An English Overture’ was originally conceived for brass band, but it transferred well to full orchestra. Of special importance have been his suites of ‘English Folk-Songs’ - the first was in 1949 (receiving the first performance at the English Folk-Dance and Song Society’s New Year Festival at London’s Royal Albert Hall in January 1950), and the second suite followed in 1977. Many of the individual movements have become recognized in their own right, with wonderful titles such as ‘Dick’s Maggot’, ‘Jenny Pluck Pears’, ‘Woodicock’ and ‘Love-in-a-Mist’. Other popular works include ‘Concert Jig’ (from the ‘Silverthorn Suite’), ‘Kielder Water’, ‘Comedy Overture’, ‘Mediterranean Suite’, ‘English Pageant Suite’, the ‘Light Music Suite’ (1971) and ‘Passepied’. Tomlinson has been a tireless worker for his profession, serving in various capacities with the Light Music Society, the Composers’ Guild of Great Britain and the Performing Rights Society. He is the recipient of the Composers’ Guild Award (1965) and two Ivor Novello Awards (1970 and 1975). In 1984 he founded The Library Of Light Orchestral Music which is housed in a huge barn at his farmhouse in Lancashire, and contains over 10, 000 scores, many of which would have been otherwise lost.

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