b. 28 October 1930, Calcutta, India, d. 9 March 2004, England. The son of an Anglo-Indian father and an Indian mother, Mayer was born into extreme poverty in the Chandni Chawk area of Calcutta. At the age of seven he studied violin with Phillipe Sandre at the Calcutta School of Music (Sandre taught Mayer in his free time, as his parents could not afford to pay tuition fees). He went on to study Indian classical violin with Sanathan Mukergee and then moved to Bombay where he studied Western classical music with Melhi Mehta, who encouraged him to apply for a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London. Arriving in London in 1950, Mayer studied composition and began to experiment with combining elements of Indian and Western music. A year later his funding ran out and he joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra as a violinist. He stayed with them until 1958, at which point he joined the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (who had previously premiered one of his compositions).
From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.