Sidney Torch

(1908—1990) organist, conductor, and composer

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b. 1908, London, England, d. 16 July 1990, Eastbourne, Sussex, England. A leading theatre organist, arranger, composer, conductor and musical director, Torch trained as an organist with Archie Parkhouse, accompanying silent films at the Stratford Broadway cinema in east London, before moving on in the early 30s to Emmanuel Starkey’s Orchestra. After assisting Quentin Maclean at the London’s Regal, Marble Arch, he took over the massive Christie organ there from 1932-34. He then moved on to a smaller Christie at the Regal, Edmonton, before launching new organs for Union Cinemas at the Regal Kingston, and the Gaumont State, Kilburn, which in those days was the largest cinema in England. After serving in the Royal Air Force in World War II, Torch gave up the cinema organ, and when the war was over, concentrated on composing, arranging and conducting. He led the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra for a time before joining BBC Radio, for which in 1953 he devised Friday Night Is Music Night. He conducted the programme’s resident BBC Concert Orchestra himself, contributing many of his own arrangements and compositions. More than 40 years later the show is still running on BBC Radio. Torch also recorded popular pieces such as ‘The Dambusters March’, ‘Canadian Capers’, ‘The Petite Waltz’, ‘Domino’ and ‘Ecstasy’.


From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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