Duncan Druce, who has written for Gramophone since 1997, has died at the age of 78. He was born in Cheshire and studied at King’s College, Cambridge where he took a double first in music. He subsequently read for two Master’s degrees: one at the University of Leeds and one at the University of York. After completing his degrees, Druce worked as a producer at BBC Radio 3. He became Senior Lecturer in music at Leeds University’s Bretton Hall College, a post he retained until 1991. He lectured on composition at Huddersfield University until his death.
When he stood down from his Leeds University post in 1991, Druce focused on performance and composition and his musical sympathies embraced both early and contemporary music, with much in between. He played in Maxwell Davies’s Fires of London, Alexander Goehr's Music Theatre Ensemble, Harrison Birtwistle’s Pierrot Players and, later, Christopher Hogwood’s Academy of Ancient Music and Sir Roger Norrington’s London Classical Players. It was Norrington who conducted, at the 1991 BBC Proms (and later recorded, for EMI) Duncan Druce’s edition of Mozart’s Requiem (‘Druce's working is substantial and pretty convincing, following many of the procedures Mozart used in his choral fugues, without going outside his normal language; and the shaping of the movements is impressive - Druce understands, as most pasticheurs do not, how Mozart handled his coda sections in terms of harmony and harmonic tempo… This is a very fascinating version, done by someone who clearly is a composer himself and at the same time very sensitive to Mozart,’ wrote the Mozart scholar Stanley Sadie in his Gramophone review in November 1992).
A generous and perceptive critic, Duncan Druce's Gramophone reviews centred on music of the Baroque as well as recordings of string music.
In the above video, from the University of Huddersfield, Duncan Druce talks about his career as a composer and performer