David Brock (1943–2013)

David Brock was a leading music educationalist most closely associated with the Birmingham School of Music, later the Conservatoire, where he was Vice-Principal from 1990-97. A strong international presence and personality, he published extensively and travelled widely as an examiner, adjudicator and lecturer.

Born in Cardiff, David Brock studied piano, organ, percussion and composition and graduated from the University of Wales, completing his MA at Birmingham University. He gained his PhD at the University of Sheffield where he researched the music of Hummel, a pupil of Mozart on whose life and work Brock became a noted authority. Having taught in Liverpool and then at Malvern Girls College, David Brock was appointed to the staff of the Birmingham School of Music in 1972. Here he played a leading role in reforming course structures and enhancing academic rigour and was especially proactive in fostering links and developing exchanges with academies abroad; in 1986 he published a book about the BSM which remains the leading reference work on the institution’s history. Brock advised leading concert series and festivals – notably the Three Choirs Festival – on programming and, as an expert in the work of English composer Granville Bantock he supervised, in 1985, the premiere of Bantock’s long-lost Cello Sonata no.2 which had unexpectedly surfaced on a market stall!

An examiner for over forty years, Brock travelled the world in this capacity after his retirement from the BC. He examined for Trinity College, London, several universities and the International Baccalaureate Organisation, was a Chief Examiner for A-level music and, in recognition of his work, received honorary awards and fellowships from the Open University and Birmingham City University. An astute and generous communicator and an engaging wit, Brock’s impact on generations of students was decisive, but his interest and influence was by no means confined solely to the exceptionally gifted. His passionate concern to nurture in those who crossed his path a love and appreciation of music, at whatever level, remained his single most important driving force and made him a popular and revered figure in music education.

David Brock, music educationalist and Vice-Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire 1990-97, was born on 21st December 1943. He died of a stroke while adjudicating in Hong Kong on 6th March 2013, aged 69.

The Times, London, 8 May 2013