Terry Barfoot obituary

Other lives: Popular music educator who set up Arts in Residence, which provided music appreciation courses across rural England

My friend, Terry Barfoot, a widely popular music educator, has died of cancer aged 70. The company he built, Arts in Residence, provided music appreciation courses, mostly three-day events in small country hotels in rural England. He would bring his own high-quality audio system to illustrate his talks and even approved the menus and wine. Civilised discourse would be continued over dinner. Introducing people to a wide range of the classical repertoire was his calling. His engaging manner and dry wit were prized as much as his deep knowledge and passion for the art.

Later he added tours linked to live concerts and operas in European cities, hearing, for example, Bach in Leipzig and Janáček in Prague. Many events in the UK and abroad were oversubscribed year after year. His loyal customers often became friends.

I met him when we were doing our teacher training at Portsmouth College of Education (1967-70), and we kept in touch even when I taught overseas for several years, frequently exchanging cassettes of music extracts and discussion.

Born in Portsmouth, where he lived all his life, Terry was the son of Rene (nee Dare) and Gerry, an electronic engineer, and attended Portsmouth Northern grammar (1960-67). Initially he was a primary school teacher in Southsea, where he met Jan (nee Liddle), also a teacher, in 1975. They married in 1978, and went on to have two sons, Philip and Matthew. He obtained an Open University degree in 1974, going on to teach at South Downs FE College (1978 to around 2006), where he was asked to take on the music history related A-levels when the head of music left.

Terry never looked back. He taught adult evening classes, wrote concert programme notes and, over three decades or more, gave dozens of pre-concert talks for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in Poole and Portsmouth. He was invited to speak to music clubs, Oxford summer schools and the Royal Opera House, where he introduced a lifelong favourite, Berlioz’s Les Troyens. In 2015 he presented a series of pre-concert talks at the Sibelius 150 festival in Lahti, Finland. His writings included Opera – A History and articles and reviews for BBC Music. Terry never stopped planning music events.

Away from music his other passion was Portsmouth football club, which he said in recent years had been an education in coping with frequent disappointment. He was a lifelong socialist and despaired at recent political events.

Terry is survived by Jan, Philip and Matthew.

Dave Billinge

The GuardianTramp

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