Manuscripts and papers of James Brown with associated printed works

Scope and Content

Comprises the manuscript notebooks, musical compositions, and associated printed works written and compiled by James Brown between the years 1933 and 2000, along with miscellaneous personalia and an autobiographical fragment. Included in the archive are manuscripts of his Baptism of Christ (1978), Piano Concerto (1993), the cantata Ad Incestum Lucernae (1974), Serenade for Orchestra (1968), Symphony (1956), Miniature Symphony (1964), Cello Concerto (1979), as well as organ works and many songs for various occasions, The manuscript notebooks largely derive from his early years, the earliest being dated 1933-1934. The printed works reflect his particular interests in music over many years.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born on 18 August 1923 at Ipswich, Suffolk, James Clifford Brown became assistant organist at the Civic Church when aged 15 and organist and choirmaster at All Hallows, Ipswich, at 16. He was a choral student at St John's College, Cambridge in 1941. His war service between 1942-1945 was with the Royal Signals. He returned to Cambridge after the war and was appointed first organ student of St John's College. A member of the Footlights Club, he wrote the music for and took part in its first production after the war. At 24 he gained his F.R.C.O. with the Read Prize for the highest aggregate of marks for the year. In 1948 he came to Leeds as a member of the University Music Department staff, serving also as University organist until his retirement in 1983. During his early years in Leeds James Brown was official accompanist and organist of the Leeds Philharmonic Society, and was subsequently Staff President of both the University Music Society and the University Union Light Opera Society. In 1961-1962 the University granted him leave of absence to study contemporary compositional techniques in Rome.


The music manuscripts have been numbered 1-327 in connection with a catalogue of James Brown's compositions being prepared by Dr Richard Rastall.

Access Information

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

The gift of James Brown on 8 July 2002.


In English.

Personal Names