Obituary: Brian Bonsor MBE, music teacher and composer
From Schott’s web site
Published: 2nd March 2011
Obituary: Brian Bonsor MBE, music teacher and composer
By Alasdair Steven, The Scotsman
Published: 2nd March 2011
Obituary: Brian Bonsor MBE
The Southern Reporter
Published: 18th March 2011

From The Times, Friday 25 March 2011 (published with permission).

Brian Bonsor

Music teacher, composer and recorder player who enjoyed a key role in the musical life of Scotland.

Brian Bonsor was a composer whose name is inextricably linked to the recorder. But first and foremost he was an inspirational music teacher at Hawick High School in the Scottish Borders for a total of 17 years.

Much of his work has been published, with more than 80 titles currently in print. He also established his own desktop publishing company, BonsorMusic. His most famous title is Enjoy the Recorder, which thousands of schoolchildren have used – its underlying philosophy is learning through enjoyment. His music, which was characterised by cheerful tunes and skilled harmonies, has been recorded by a number of artists in Britain and abroad.

Bonsor taught himself the recorder in the early 1950s and studied briefly with the celebrated recorder player Carl Dolmetsch. After gaining the teachers” test of the Society of Recorder Players in 1955, he was appointed a Tutor of the Recorder in Education Summer School in 1959, an appointment he held until 1998. He was appointed a director of the course in 1966 and later chairman. He was also a tutor of recorder at the British Orff Society Summer School in 1967 and 1968.

Bonsor was guest lecturer and teacher at Recorder 84, the first Australian national recorder festival, which was held in Melbourne in 1984. He also took up invitations to conduct, lecture and teach in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and the Republic of Ireland. He travelled extensively throughout Scotland and England, running courses and workshops for local education authorities and he was a regular conductor at Society of Recorder Players’ national festivals.

Bonsor was appointed as advisor in music to Roxburgh and Selkirk in 1970, which was extended to cover the whole of Borders region in 1975. During this time he was invited by the Scottish education department to prepare the first syllabus for the practical examination in recorder for the Scottish leaving certificate in 1958. He was later appointed to membership of the Scottish education department central committee for curriculum from 1971 to 1974 and to the working party for music which produced curriculum paper 16 entitled Music in Scottish Schools from 1973 to 1977. He took early retirement in 1983 to concentrate on composing and arranging music.

James Brian Bonsor was born in Hawick in 1926. The son of a hosiery manufacturer, he had no desire to join the family firm. A compromise was reached and he became an indentured law apprentice at a local legal firm. In the Second World War he served in the Royal Navy on a minesweeper. After demobilisation in 1947 he trained to become a music teacher, studying at Moray House in Edinburgh. He gained the LRAM in 1947 and the LMus at Trinity College, London in 1957.

Bonsor made a tremendous contribution to the musical lives of the people in the Scottish Borders. He founded the Roxburgh Recorder Players in 1961 and was appointed Director of the National Society of Recorder Players in 1967. He was a founder and director of the National Recorder School of Scotland, and conducted the Border Orchestra (1963-1966) and the Roxburgh Singers (1971-1982). He was appointed MBE for services to music teaching in 2002.

He is survived by his wife, Mary, and by a son and daughter.

Brian Bonsor, MBE, music teacher and composer was born on August 21, 1926. He died on February 22, 2011 aged 84.

Last updated 26 July 2013