Christopher Yates: 1938-2014

It is with great sadness that the RNCM reports the death of Christopher Yates on Friday 21 November.

Chris joined the RNCM in 1980 as Dean of Postgraduate Studies, becoming the College’s first Vice-Principal in 1990. In this capacity he had a broad responsibility for the curriculum, as well as overseeing much of the day-to-day running of the corporate events programme.

Committed to supporting students, Chris always seemed able to find financial ways and means of helping those who might otherwise have had to abandon their studies, and proved a great inspiration to both students and staff throughout his career.

In tribute, former Principal Professor Edward Gregson said: ‘Chris was the Vice-Principal when I came to the College in 1996, and was a great support to me in the early days of my tenure as Principal. He was a hugely likeable person – intelligent, perceptive, and with an endearing dry sense of humour. Moreover, he cared about the students and staff of the College in a generous and productive way, always sparing the time to listen to them and solve any potential problems. Although he was respectful of the traditions of the College, he always had an eye to the future and was never averse to change when and where it was necessary. He was a fine musician, and his experience in the music profession made him an ideal person to influence the musical training aspects of the College’s mission; indeed, when he retired from his position as Vice-Principal he became the first Director of Performance and Programming, helping to shape the College’s artistic programme and co-ordinating the students’ input to it. I shall remember him with great affection, as will everyone who came into contact with him. His place in the history of the College is assured and he will be sorely missed.’

Chris, who was made a Fellow of the RNCM in 1982, stepped down from his role as Vice-Principal in 1999, but continued working in a part-time capacity for a further two years. Thereafter, he was often seen at RNCM events, which he continued to support until recent ill health prevented him from doing so.

Professor Linda Merrick, RNCM Principal, said: ‘All who were fortunate to know him came to appreciate his warmth, humanity and buoyant sense of humour. He will be greatly missed and our deepest sympathies go to his widow, Cynthia, and his daughters Clare and Catherine.



24 November 2014