Michael Kennedy: 1926 – 2014

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Michael Kennedy CBE on Wednesday 31 December at the age of 88.

Former chief music critic of The Daily Telegraph, Michael was recognised as one of the UK’s leading voices on classical music and opera. Since the 1960s he wrote numerous books on the life and works of Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Strauss, in addition to notable publications on music in Manchester, including the history of the RNCM.

A Fellow and Companion of the College and former member of the Board of Governors, Michael enjoyed RNCM concerts and operas as both an audience member and internationally-acclaimed music critic for over 40 years. From Joan Rodgers and Amanda Roocroft to Sir John Tomlinson and Simon Keenlyside, he witnessed some of the UK’s best-loved singers step out on the RNCM Theatre stage for the first time and, as he recalled in 2012, was always pleased to see their professional careers develop: ‘An exciting aspect of attending opera at the RNCM is the game of talent spotting. The satisfaction one receives when, as happens so often, a talent we spotted receives rave notices at a major opera house or concert hall is immense. It is always pleasant to be able to say ‘I told you so.’’

Together with his wife Joyce, Michael also co-founded the RNCM’s annual Strauss Prize; one of the College’s most prestigious competitions for vocal students and an event that has done much to raise awareness of the often neglected songs of Richard Strauss.

Professor Linda Merrick, RNCM Principal, said: ‘Michael was a highly respected figure and friend of the RNCM who will be much missed by all of us who were privileged to know him. Our thoughts are with Joyce at this sad time.’

5 January 2015