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News > In Memory > Robin Bradshaw Walton: 1936-2023

Robin Bradshaw Walton: 1936-2023

We are sorry to inform you that Old Stopfordian, Robin Bradshaw Walton, sadly passed away on 30th July following a period of illness.
13 Oct 2023
In Memory

Robin Walton followed his father (FP Walton: 1909 – 1914; Head of School, 1914) and brother (CH Walton: 1942 – 1949)  in attending Stockport Grammar School between 1948-1954, taking A-levels in Latin, Greek and Music (with distinction), being a school prefect and Captain of the School lacrosse team.

He was awarded an open exhibition in Music at Gonville and Cauis College, Cambridge in 1954 where he graduated in 1958 with a BA (eventually converted to an MA), as well as gaining his half-blue for Lacrosse over three years.

Following his graduation, his early career was in school teaching where he was to spend 12 very varied years from 1959 to 1971, teaching music initially at Felsted School Essex, and then at the Duke of York School (later renamed Lenana School) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Whilst teaching pupils for both O & A-levels, he directed a number of Musical productions, which was to become his forte in the future, and from which he gained much enjoyment and satisfaction.  He was also to conduct the Nairobi Orchestra, and participate in church and musicological programmes, notably organ playing and educational committees in Kenya.

Following many ex-pats, he and his young family moved to South Africa in 1971 taking up a position of Music Lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg.

His lecturing work focused on the history of music, covering the periods ‘Medieval’ to the 1900’s and some 20th Century aspects. He was also to take on numerous Masters and PhD students.

His forte, however, was his own academic research, where in the early 70’s he began a Masters into Italian Baroque Opera, undertaking study tours in Italy and the UK. This was to lead to a change in focus to a PhD in 1978, being awarded his doctorate through his thesis on “Carlo Pallavicini, a critical edition of his opera Bassiano”.

He was a founder member of the South African Musicological Society (SAMuS) and was also on the inaugural steering committee of the Roodepoort International Eisteddfod of SA.

He initiated, organised and performed at many extra-mural musicological initiatives in Johannesburg, involving University, performing arts and church communities, becoming permanent conductor of numerous choirs and music societies in the city.

He was also an examiner and eventually special commissioner to the Royal Schools of Church Music, and was subsequently recognised by the RSCM through the Award of Associate of the Royal Schools of Church Music in 2007.

He continued working at Wits until his retirement in 1996, whereafter he focused on church music within Johannesburg, from which he gained much pleasure.

He and his wife then moved from Johannesburg to the Natal Midlands in 2005, seeking a quieter life in retirement, though he continued to engage in local School, Choral and Amateur Musicological Societies until his early 80’s.

 A decline in health and the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia necessitated a move to assisted living in 2022. He passed away peacefully on 30th July 2023, leaving his wife of 57 years, and two children.

Our thoughts are with Robin's family. 

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