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Kenneth Ryder

PUBLISHED: 01:01 10 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:59 22 October 2010

Kenneth Ryder, organist and master of music at Norwich's 15th century St Peter Mancroft church, has died suddenly aged 66.

Kenneth Ryder, organist and master of music at Norwich's St Peter Mancroft church, has died suddenly aged 66.

He died on May 28, shortly after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, and had celebrated his birthday just nine days earlier. He retired a year ago.

Current vicar, the Rev Peter Noakes, said: "We were extremely saddened to hear of his death at a time when he was looking forward to enjoying a new home in retirement."

Born and educated in London, he arrived in Norfolk from the Home Counties in 1963 to take up the post at St Peter Mancroft.

He had earlier held two organist posts in the capital after being awarded the gold medal at the Royal College of Music. His talent was apparent from a young age, as he was

a junior exhibitioner at the

Royal College.

He adopted Norwich as his home, living in Cathedral Close for many years. His New Year's Day Bach recitals were a fixture in the musical life of the city.

During his time at the church, he was choir master and organ scholar for both the church and the diocese as a whole.

His legacy will live on in his private pupils, many of whom went on to achieve national and international acclaim. He regarded the nurturing of young talent as the most important aspect of his work.

One of his most notable achievements was playing a key role in the 1970s fundraising appeal for a new organ at the church.

This raised more than £200,000 to replace the ageing organ with one designed by Peter Collins and installed in 1984.

His experience with historically important continental organs resulted in a very close collaboration with Mr Collins in the design and specification of the St Peter Mancroft organ.

Former church warden Barbara Miller said: "He knew the old organ inside out and it was a remarkable achievement to keep it going."

Mr Ryder was also a gifted pianist and harpsichord player. He enjoyed model-making and was a keen artist whose work was regularly displayed at the Tudor Galleries.

He travelled throughout Europe, often stopping to give recitals in many cities on the continent as well as in Canada.

Mr Ryder was unmarried and had no children but was an uncle to two.


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