Richard Rodney Bennett dies aged 76

27 December 2012, 08:37

The Oscar-nominated composer's output ranged from film music for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Murder on the Orient Express and Doctor Who, to avant-garde classical works and jazz.

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett has died aged 76. The British composer was based in New York City until he died there on Christmas Eve.

Born in Kent, Sir Bennett went on to win a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, having turned down a place at Oxford University. He published his first work, a sonata for solo piano, in 1954, after immersing himself in the European avant-garde and studying with Pierre Boulez.

After writing his first film score for the 1957 film Face in the Night, he was nominated for three Academy Awards for his next film music offerings: Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), and Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

Bennett taught at the Royal Academy of Music between 1963 and 1965, at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, United States from 1970 to 1971. He returned to the Royal Academy of Music in 1994,  becoming International Chair of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music until 2000.

He was awarded a CBE in 1977 and knighted for Services to Music in 1998.