Brian Chapple

b. 1945



Brian Chapple was born in 1945. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music: composition with Lennox Berkeley and piano with Harry Isaacs. Early successes include Scherzos for four pianos ("a daring piece of musical an inspired improvisation", wrote Felix Aprahamian in the Sunday Times), premiered at the 1976 Proms. The orchestral Green and Pleasant was winner of the BBC Monarchy 1000 Prize in 1972: its premiere in Bath, conducted by Norman del Mar was broadcast and televised. In 1976 Elgar Howarth's performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was chosen to represent the BBC in Unesco's International Rostrum of Composers in Paris.

There have been commissions and premieres by the London Sinfonietta (Venus Fly-Trap - "an extraordinarily crafty and funny scherzo" - Musical Times), London Mozart Players (Little Symphony, 1982), BBC Singers (Lamentations of Jeremiah, 1984), New London Orchestra (In Memoriam, 1989 - "solemn yet uplifting...a profoundly moving tribute" - Musical Opinion).

His association with the Highgate Choral Society led to two substantial choral, orchestral commissions, Cantica (1978) and Magnificat, 1987 ("imaginative amd enthralling - Musical Opinion). Notable premieres by the choir of St Paul's Cathedral include Missa Brevis, Ecce Lignum Crucis and the tercentenary commission, St Paul's Service, 1996.

Jazz and swing influences feature in several works, for example Burlesque for two pianos, Ebony & Ivory and the Piano Concerto, premiered by Howard Shelley in Glasgow's 1979 Musica Nova. A CD of his piano music by Goldstone & Clemmow was released on the Divine Art label in January 2008. It features Burlesque (2005), Piano Sonata (1986), Bagatelles Diverses (2005), Requies (1991) and Four Pieces from 'A Bit of a Blow' (2005) for piano duet.

Brian has recently made string orchestrations of the Three Sacred Pieces and Three Lenten Motets. His Missa Brevis Exoniensis was written for Andrew Millington and the choir of Exeter Cathedral and premiered in 2009. In 2016 Chapple's Psalm 23 premiered at new music wells, his second offering to the festival.

In 2011 the distinguished organist, Margaret Phillips premiered Six Bagatelles (Chester Music) and released a recording of them on Regent Records in 2014. In 2012 the Exon Singers broadcast the premiere of Safe where I cannot lie yet from Buckfast Abbey when Brian was the Singers' composer in residence. Chester Music has made two additions to Brian's very popular collections of piano pieces, Lazy Days, In The Pink and On The Cool Side : Swing's The Thing and, for younger duettists, Home and Dry (2013).


There are no upcoming performances