Michael Kidd (b.1926) - A Portrait

Michael Kidd

Michael Kidd was born in Morland, Cumbria, in 1926.  After service in the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Marines during World War II, he joined BOAC and rose to become Station Manager for the Corporation all over the world.  In 1947 he was involved with the airlift of refugees to and from India and Pakistan.  On leaving BOAC Michael joined Eagle Airways as Traffic Superintendant and in 1959 formed his own company to train professional pilots.  By 1968 he had contracts to train BOAC and BEA pilots and several foreign airlines, as well as training hundreds of pilots through the flying scholarship scheme for the Fleet Air Arm, the RAF and the Royal Army Air Corps.

Running alongside his lifelong involvement with aviation is a deep love of music.  Wherever he found himself in the forces Michael played the organ for the service church and, after the war, wherever he played the organ he formed a choir.  Starting at the age of eleven, he was a church organist for sixty years so, when ill health forced him to relinquish his beloved aviation, he turned his hobby of music into a profession.

His new career received an unexpected boost when, having ended a recital with one of his own compositions, he was approached by an executive from the leading music publishers, Boosey and Hawkes, with an offer to publish the piece.  After this initial success, Boosey and Hawkes went on to commission more music from Michael and he wrote film scores and music for radio and television.  Amongst many commissions was one from the Royal Navy.  He also wrote a March 'Away Lifeboat' to mark the150th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.  The late Queen Mother heard 'Away Lifeboat' when it was played in St. Paul's Cathedral and asked for details of the composer.

Throughout the 1970's and 1980's Michael's compositions were regularly performed and broadcast on both radio and television and several LP recordings were issued.  Eventually Michael's health prevented his playing in public and he felt that his career as a musician had reached its conclusion, but in the last fifteen years thanks to the support and deep friendship of the late Rev. David Parsons, Michael has been encouraged to re-visit and prepare a number of his pieces for publication.

David Parsons (left) with Michael Kidd

David has carefully edited and prepared the scores and, in addition, made a splendid CD recording of all the pieces in both of the 'Portrait' collections as well as the superb 'Fanfare for Freedom' which was composed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the successful outcome of the Falklands Campaign and which was published in May 2007.  Sadly, David Parsons died on April 14th, 2009.

Following the death of his wife Patricia on June 2010 (just short of the couple's diamond wedding anniversary) Michael moved to the Ashcott Lawns, on the Polden Hills near Street.

AVAILABLE NOW  from animus:

CD Recordings

ON MY HAMMOND . . . 1972 - 1980

This comprises 19 of Michael's compositions, performed by the composer

Price £10.00 (plus £1.00 UK postage and packing)

performed by David Parsons

A Portrait of Michael Kidd includes all the titles listed below, performed by David Parsons
and recorded in the presence of the composer. 

Price £9.00 (plus £1.00 UK postage and packing).

Sheet Music for organ:

A Portrait of Michael Kidd (Vol. 1)
Full Ahead
Memories of a summer evening
Frills and furbelows

plus biography, photos and notes on each of the pieces

A Portrait of Michael Kidd (Vol. 2)
HMS Formidable
Andante in G
The Willow Waltz
To an autumn evening
Watch your step

plus photos and notes on each of the pieces

A Portrait of Michael Kidd (Vol. 3)
Manx Mist
Somerset Scherzo
Hazy days
Desert Shield


A Portrait of Michael Kidd (Vol. 4)
Autumn Reverie
In time for spring
Solway Shadows


Wavelengths - Three nautical pieces:
Echoes of spindrift
Just a thought


Fanfare for Freedom - A Celebration £3.00

Two Pieces:  Toccata Capricorn & Launch for Life £5.00

None of the pieces is particularly difficult and, in fact, many are very straightforward.  ALL are highly melodic and memorable.  A modest  two-manual and pedal organ is all that is needed to bring this lovely music to life.  It has been a real privilege to work with Michael on the pieces in 'A Portrait'.  All  are a joy for both performer and listener and we think that you will agree that very few composers have been blessed with such a gift for memorable and joyous melody.  We hope that you will have as much pleasure playing this delightful music as we have had in assembling the four volumes which comprise A Portrait of Michael Kidd as well as the Fanfare for Freedom, Two Pieces and the latest collection, Wavelengths.

Christmas choral title

Mine was the star - Carol for unison voices and organ or piano £1.20

This delightful setting of original words by Mabs Holland is a model of how to write a simple choral work - an instantly memorable melody with a very straightforward accompaniment for any keyboard instrument.  Choirs (and audiences or congregations) will latch on immediately and love it!