was born in Castleford, Yorkshire on 8 November 1938. He composed music from an early age, studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Lennox Berkeley, and in Paris as a Mendelssohn Scholar with Nadia Boulanger. He taught composition at the RAM from 1962 to 1987.
His music has been broadcast regularly and performed worldwide. His three-act opera, Johnson Preserv’d, received its world premiere in London in 1967. In the early 1970s he visited New York for the American premiere of his Third String Quartet.
He was introduced to film music writing by the Director of Music of Elstree Studios, Stanley Black; he later worked with Philip Martell, Music Director of Hammer Films and Adviser to MCA Films.
His stage and TV credits include Troilus and Cressida (Old Vic), Lysistrata, and Galileo (Goldsmiths), Rape of the Belt (RAM), Romeo and Juliet (West End), My Friend – My Enemy (The Place), Zampogna (Tyne Tees), and The Garden Party (Coliseum – danced by Dame Margot Fonteyn, choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton and Peter Darrell, with designs by Andy Warhol).
His film credits include The End of the Line (BFS), Titanic (Pathe News), Advance Democracy (ACS Productions), Portrait of a Town (Standard Pictures), Lear and Goneril (Atelier Productions), Forever Joy (Nitrame), and In Control (Moviecraft).
Richard Stoker has appeared on BBC1, BBC2, BBC4, Channel 3 and 4, BBC Radio 3, Radio 4, Radio London, Radio Leeds and LBC. As a pianist and keyboard player he has performed at the South Bank, on BBC Radios 3 and 4, on BBC TV1 and on LBC; also as a jazz pianist at Pizza on the Park, the Nachlite Club and London University Union.
His music is recorded on many albums and on ten CDs – see Discography below.
Richard Stoker edited Composer magazine for eleven years. His first volume of autobiography, Open Window – Open Door, was published by Regency Press in 1985, and a children’s novel, Tanglewood, was published by Merlin Books in 1993. Diva – a novel and Collected Short Stories was published by Minerva in 1998. Numerous of his stories and poems have been anthologised. He has received several awards from the American Poetry Society. He was nominated Man of the Year 1997 by the American Biographical Institute (ABI).
He belongs to the following organisations: PRS, MCPS, BACS (Legal Affairs Committees), RAM Guild (Founder Member, Committee and Hon Treasurer), Atlantic Council (founder-member), Blackheath Poetry Society, International PEN, English PEN, and the Royal Society of Literature.
Richard Stoker is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music (FRAM), an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM), and an Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM).
His principal music publishers include: BMG, Boosey & Hawkes, Fentone, Ricordi, Peters, OUP, Associated Board, Doblinger, Brunton, and Leeds/MCA.
He was commissioned by the Oxford ‘Dictionary of National Biography’ (OUP 2004) to write the entries on eight musicians: Sir Thomas Armstrong, Arthur Benjamin, Alan Bush, Eric Fenby and Robert Simpson, Harold Truscott and Janet Craxton and most recently, Anthony Milner. Since then he has been appointed advisor to the DNB (2004 – ) which is also available on-line.