Professor Edward ‘Teddy’ Garden

Head of the Department of Music from 1975-1993

Teddy Garden and the Department of Music in 1985Staff of the Department of Music were saddened to hear of the death of Professor Edward Garden, aged 87, on 23 September 2017. Professor Garden succeeded Basil Deane as the James Rossiter Hoyle Professor of Music in 1975, and served eighteen years as Head of Music until his retirement in 1993. He had previously been a Senior Lecturer at Glasgow University, and organist and director of the chapel choir.

Emeritus Professor Peter Hill recalls how Teddy (as he was always known) steered the Department through challenging times in the early 1980s, broadening its scope through new staff appointments and presiding over an increase in student numbers. In an article published in the Sheffield Telegraph on Garden’s retirement, Bernard Lee reported on the healthy state of the department as Teddy left it, with a thriving concert series, new PhD programmes in performance and composition, and a wide range of performing opportunities. Asking Teddy whether he would have chosen any other career, Lee received the following response: “To spend life doing what one is most fond of is a great boon for any person. Indeed, how lucky one is to have been able to spend one’s whole life doing what one would most like to do anyway.”

Garden was a noted scholar of Russian music, and his published work included biographies of Balakirev and Tchaikovsky. He gave an accomplished inaugural recital on the organ in Firth Hall, which he had commissioned. His enthusiastic conducting of the University orchestra and choir is recalled in several of the tributes that have been paid to him, and an eclectic ‘farewell concert’ in June 1993 featured performances by Teddy’s colleagues, including Alan Brown, Peter Hill, Martin Hindmarsh and Colin Lawson.

Garden’s musical knowledge infused his teaching, which is recalled by retired music librarian Tom McCanna as follows: “Teddy’s room was immediately above the library, and every note on the piano could be heard. "What shall we do with the drunken sailor?" - ah yes, it must be week two of the autumn term, and he’s got his first year tutorial group in with him, learning about modality.”

The Department of Music is much changed since Teddy’s day, with new premises, further increased student numbers and a great variety of teaching, research and musical activity. However, it is to be hoped that Teddy would recognise his legacy in the friendly and energetic department that is still thriving another quarter century after his impressively long tenure at its helm.


Peter Hill,
Emeritus Professor

Edward (Teddy) Garden succeeded Basil Deane as the James Rossiter Hoyle Professor of Music in 1975. He served eighteen years as head of Music, steering the department through the difficult financial years of the early 1980s, and on his retirement in 1993 he left the Department with much enlarged student numbers. His other legacy was to broaden the scope of the Department’s work through new staff appointments. In both of these Teddy laid the foundations for the large, thriving and extremely diverse Department we know today.

Teddy Garden himself was a noted scholar of Russian music, and his published work included biographies of Balakirev and Tchaikovsky. He was also an accomplished organist, and he gave the inaugural recital on the organ in Firth Hall, which he had commissioned, as well as conducting the University Chorus and Orchestra in such works as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem.

Students from Teddy’s time in Sheffield recall the happy and informal atmosphere of the department in its former premises on Taptonville Road, while the end-of-year parties given by Teddy and his wife Jenett at their home on Millhouses Lane were legendary occasions.

Tony Bennett,
Retired Senior Lecturer

My memories of Teddy will always centre on his kindness and generosity. Quiet and unpretentious, though always in evident and clear leadership of the Department, he cared deeply for both staff and students, who could approach him with any difficulties they had.

An organist himself, Teddy brought about two long-term benefits for the Department and University: the establishment of the Organ Scholarship and the building of the organ in Firth Hall. He organised and enthusiastically conducted large-scale collaborations of the University Orchestra and Chorus, particularly memorable and hugely enjoyed performances being those of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the Verdi Requiem.

Perhaps the happiest memories of all, for me and I imagine for many, are the garden parties held at the end of each year for third-year students (with postgrads and staff) at Teddy and Jennet’s house. With plenty to eat and drink, badminton to play, or simply walking and chatting in the lovely garden, it was a true celebration for each undergrad of their three-year degree course in Sheffield. Teddy was certainly a Head of Department who will not be forgotten.

Dr David Patmore,
Founder of the MA Music Management

As the Music Officer for the Yorkshire Arts Association during early 1980s, I was responsible for the disbursement of grants to music organisations throughout the region. One of our most assiduous customers was the Music Department of the University of Sheffield, then run by Professor Edward Garden, or Teddy as he was generally known. In addition, he served on several 'ad hoc' committees set up by the Association.

Teddy was an unusual mix of two often contrasting characters. On the one hand he was absolutely passionate about his chosen specialism - the music of Russia. In relation to this he was extremely expert, and communicated his enthusiasm with relish as well as authority. The other character which he also frequently displayed was that of the typical English upper class committee-man. In this he was clubbable, with a dry sense of humour - very handy in diffusing potentially difficult situations - while also being punctilious about detail as well as overall direction. In this mode he seemed almost to be military in bearing and behaviour, which made his other character seem so unlikely.

He was always a pleasure to work with, and the concerts of his which the Yorkshire Arts Association funded and which I myself attended were always memorable, as was Teddy himself. He did much for music in Sheffield.

John Irving,
Professor of Performance Practice, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, London (formerly Professor of Music, University of London, and University of Bristol)

I shall always revere Teddy Garden as a kindly and encouraging mentor. He admitted me to read Music at Sheffield in 1977, following an interview in which he convinced me that an ancient university in the Fens was not for me. How right he was.

I owe him a great debt of gratitude in so many ways: I simply would not have had the career I have subsequently pursued in higher education without his early support.

His keyboard harmony classes were memorable to say the least: witty yet patient reflections on our sometimes hopeless attempts at resolving dissonances properly or reading a string quartet score, balancing with profound insights into matters of style - Bach, especially - in almost equal measure.

He encouraged me to find my own solutions, both musically and in life more generally, and to strive to be the best I could be. I recall three things above all about Teddy: his wonderful graduation garden parties held annually at Millhouses Lane; his terrible handwriting - uncontestably the most aesthetically displeasing scrawl I have ever seen (and yet at the same time it was always completely clear to read!); finally, I remain thankful to him for the soundest piece of advice anyone has ever given me - 'Look forward, not back.' His wisdom and generosity touched many lives; that is the hallmark of an inspiring educator.

Dr Henry Zajaczkowski,
Tchaikovsky Scholar

The recent death of Edward Garden very sadly removes another major figure from the field of Russian music studies. His works on Balakirev and Tchaikovsky remain pivotal to any meaningful understanding of nineteenth-century Russian music, as indeed does the valuable text he astutely co-edited with the linguist Nigel Gotteri, the translation by Galina von Meck of the first volume of the Soviet-period edition of correspondence between Tchaikovsky and her grandmother (the composer’s benefactress).

I should point out that Professor Garden was the thesis tutor both for my bachelor’s degree, and doctoral, theses on Tchaikovsky. I learned very much from him, and remain struck, to this day, at how sanguine and tolerant he was at views on Russian music being put before him, even when it was clear that he personally disagreed, or would have suggested entirely different lines of approach to one’s own. These he would outline, but not insist on. Such an understanding thesis tutor is an invaluable one indeed.

Once outside the university environment, I found Professor Garden continued to be helpful and supportively generous in professional terms, passing items of work my way such as the writing of CD liner notes and the opportunity to give explanatory talks on Russian music as an adjunct to its concert performance. For a lengthy period he intermittently fought with health difficulties, and with the care and assistance of his wife survived to a well-deserved old age. It is indeed the loss of a grand and eminent old man of Russian music studies.