Robert Prizeman, composer and conductor who wrote the theme tune of Songs of Praise and founded the Libera Boys Choir – obituary


Robert Prizeman, who died at the age of 69, was a composer, conductor and director of Libera, a boy’s choir from the choir of St Philip’s Church in Norbury, south London; he also worked on Songs of Praise, composing the musical theme of the program, a Toccata for organ, and arranging numerous hymns for broadcast.

Bob Prizeman founded Libera in 1985, creating musical opportunities outside of the church tradition for boys ages seven to 16. a Southwark Diocese newspaper said. The name Libera, Latin for “free”, comes from a piece of music he wrote for television. “The Libera is a bunch of people – but it’s also a style,” he said of their mix of sacred and secular repertoire. “Spiritual but accessible, with words that do not turn off. “

Boys are recruited from years three and four from local schools, although Prizeman was dismayed at the separation between church culture and much of the community. “Not many people outside of a church know what a choir is and most boys can’t sing,” he said, adding that he was looking for potential rather than ability. “A few verses from Away in a Manger and a hearing test and I can usually tell if a boy will do it.”

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