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Bullock, Sir Ernestlocked

  • Malcolm Turner

(b Wigan, Sept 15, 1890; d Aylesbury, May 24, 1979). English organist and educationist. He was a pupil of and assistant organist to Bairstow at Leeds (1907–12), and took the BMus (1908) and DMus (1914) degrees at Durham University, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists in 1909. His first important post, suborganist at Manchester Cathedral (1912–15), was interrupted by war service, after which he was organist at St Michael’s College, Tenbury (1919), and organist and choirmaster of Exeter Cathedral (1919–27). On Nicholson’s retirement from Westminster Abbey in 1928, Bullock succeeded him as organist and Master of the Choristers. In this post he was obliged to provide the music for several royal functions; for the coronation of King George VI (1937) he wrote the fanfares and conducted the choir and orchestra, in acknowledgment of which he was created CVO. He also provided all but one of the fanfares for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (1953).

In 1941 his career took a new turn when he became Gardiner Professor of Music at Glasgow University, an appointment which carried with it that of principal of the Scottish National Academy of Music. He was knighted in 1951, and in 1952 succeeded Sir George Dyson as director of the RCM, a post he held until his retirement in 1960. Bullock was essentially a church musician, as is evident from his published compositions: these include 12 anthems, among them Give Us the Wings of Faith (1925), two settings of the Te Deum and two of the Magnificat. Still, he was also widely influential as an administrator and as an adjudicator at many musical competitions. He served as president of the Royal College of Organists (1951–2), chairman of the music committee of the Scottish Arts Council (1943–50), a member of the music panel of the Arts Council of Great Britain (1945–7) and joint chairman of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (1952–60).


  • MGG1 (L. Duck) [incl. list of works]
  • H. Foss: ‘Salute to Ernest Bullock’, Music Teacher, 30 (1951), 346 only
  • G. Baker: ‘Sir Ernest Bullock’, Music Teacher, 36 (1957), 37 only
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