In Memoriam – John Shirley-Quirk CBE

The University regrets to report the death of John Stanton Shirley-Quirk CBE, (BSc Chemistry 1952, DipEd 1953) the distinguished bass-baritone who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music in 1976 from the University of Liverpool.

Although not originally intending to become a professional singer, he abandoned a first career in science in his early thirties. Within ten years of this inspired change of direction he was securely established as the leading British bass-baritone of his generation.

In 1961 he was understudy for the role of Gregor Mittenhofer in the British premiere of Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers at the Glyndebourne Festival, and in the following year made his operatic debut in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande as the Doctor.

He was a member of the English Opera Group from 1964-76 performing and recording the operatic and vocal works of Benjamin Britten.

He was appointed associate artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival in 1982 and from 1991 was on the Faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, US.

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