Brian Douglas collection
The Brian Douglas Collection contains many special and scarce music scores.
A True Musician's Collection: Brian Kirkbride Douglas (1914-1997)
In 1989 Brian Douglas gave his extraordinary collection of music, sound recordings, books and journals to the School of Music at Canterbury University. The Central Library subsequently received the sheet music and scores (which are in excess of 3000 titles) and books (365 titles). His library has its main strength in materials that relate to English piano music of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and will be of interest to musicians who would like to expand their repertoire. He was also interested in other European composers of this period, and in particular the Russian composers. In the case of Nicolai Medtner, all his piano works are represented. The works of a number of English composers are featured including Arnold, Bax, Delius, Elgar, Ferguson, Finzi, Holst, Ireland, Moeran, Quilter, Rawsthorne, Richardson and Stanford. The sheet music contains many first editions. The rest of his library reflects a wide ranging musical interest including opera, ballet, chamber, orchestral music and the art song.
The man himself was the son of a leading Manchester surgeon and the fine singer Margaret Kirkbride. He had a typically Edwardian childhood and grew up attending Halle Orchestra concerts under Hamilton Harty and the John Barbirolli. After attending Oxford University, Brian Douglas studied at the Royal College of Music in September 1939 until the outbreak of war (as an infantry captain he was badly wounded) and continued his studies after the war with a government grant. He graduated in 1947 with an ARCM in piano solo and gave his Wigmore Hall debut recital with the monumental piano sonata (1901) of Paul Dukas. Following this, he auditioned with the American Ballet and became its pianist for their tour of war-torn Europe, before accompanying them back to the United States. Then, after periods of teaching and accompanying in England, he moved to Adelaide as accompanist for the Australian Ballet and eventually settled in Christchurch in the 1970s.
The Brian Douglas Collection embodies a true musician's love of music and displays his interest in the piano and chamber music of many of the early twentieth century European composers.