Roy Douglas

Composer, Pianist
He was born in Royal Tunbridge Wells, England on 12/12/1907. Being essentially a self-taught pianist and composer, he started to play the piano at the age of five, and at 10 he was composing short piano pieces. In 1915 he moved with his family to Folkestone, where he played regularly in local concerts. He joined the Folkestone Municipal Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra as organist, assistant pianist, celesta player, librarian and program assistant. He worked with distinguished conductors such as Bruno Walter, Hamilton Harty, Adrian Boult, Eugene Goosens, Henry J. Wood and Malcolm Sargent. In addition, he played in many ballet seasons in theaters in London, West End Shows and in famous restaurants (1930-1938). In 1936 he orchestrated the ballet Les Sylphides on Chopin’s music. His orchestration was published by Boosey & Hawkes and has since then been used by ballet companies all over the world. In 1939 he returned to Royal Tunbridge Wells. He also worked with many composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams (1947-58), William Walton (1940-43), John Ireland, Alan Rawsthorne, Walter Goehr, Arthur Benjamin and Anthony Collins. He orchestrated Richard Addinsell's music for eight BBC programs and 24 films, including the famous Warsaw Concerto. He composed many original works and wrote music for radio programs and documentary films. He worked with the Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra since 1950, initially as a pianist, and later as Vice-Chairman (1959-83) and Chairman (1983-85). After the Second World War he joined the Royal Tunbridge Wells Drama Club and served as its Chairman for eight years. His orchestration was used in GNO’s production of the ballet Les Sylphides (1990/91).