Papers of Robin Orr

Scope and Content

Manuscript and printed scores, some correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Orr was born in Brechin, Scotland, in 1909. He was educated at Loretto School, the Royal College of Music, London, and Pembroke College, Cambridge, whence he graduated MusB in 1932. Following work at Sidcot School, Somerset, and the University of Leeds, Orr came to St John's in 1938 as organist and director of studies in music. He held both posts until 1951. During the war, Orr worked in photographic intelligence for the RAFVR. Returning to Cambridge, he was appointed Lecturer in Music (1947-56) and was made a Fellow of St John's. Professorships followed at the Royal College of Music (1950-56), at the University of Glasgow (1956-65), and at Cambridge (1965-76). Orr also served as Chairman of Scottish Opera, Director of the Cambridge Arts Theatre, and Director of the Welsh National Opera. He was elected to honorary Fellowships at St John's and Pembroke, and was appointed CBE in 1972. Orr's compositions include 3 operas, 3 symphonies, several works for voice and strings, chamber and church music. His autobiography 'Musical chairs' was published in 1998. Orr died at the age of 96 in April 2006.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation

Acquisition Information

Items A3, A4, and B3-20 were a gift from the libraries of Doris and Robin Orr to mark the centenary of Robin, Feb. 2009.

Note

Orr was born in Brechin, Scotland, in 1909. He was educated at Loretto School, the Royal College of Music, London, and Pembroke College, Cambridge, whence he graduated MusB in 1932. Following work at Sidcot School, Somerset, and the University of Leeds, Orr came to St John's in 1938 as organist and director of studies in music. He held both posts until 1951. During the war, Orr worked in photographic intelligence for the RAFVR. Returning to Cambridge, he was appointed Lecturer in Music (1947-56) and was made a Fellow of St John's. Professorships followed at the Royal College of Music (1950-56), at the University of Glasgow (1956-65), and at Cambridge (1965-76). Orr also served as Chairman of Scottish Opera, Director of the Cambridge Arts Theatre, and Director of the Welsh National Opera. He was elected to honorary Fellowships at St John's and Pembroke, and was appointed CBE in 1972. Orr's compositions include 3 operas, 3 symphonies, several works for voice and strings, chamber and church music. His autobiography 'Musical chairs' was published in 1998. Orr died at the age of 96 in April 2006.

Preferred citation: St John's College Library, Papers of Robin Orr

Archivist's Note

26 Jul 2017

Related Material

Orr's manuscripts are held in Cambridge University Library.

Additional Information

Published

Subjects