(b London, 1 Jan 1896; d Brighton, 2 Feb 1976). English composer, pianist, adjudicator and publisher. He began to learn both the violin and the piano at the age of seven. At 16, a piano scholarship at the Modern School of Music, London, enabled him to receive lessons from Busoni. In 1916 he won a composition scholarship at the RCM, where, with a break for military service, he studied with Stanford and then Holst until 1922. Before leaving the RCM, Jacobson accompanied the tenor John Coates for two years. He also began a lifelong association with J. Curwen & Sons, originally as a reader and editor, becoming a director (1933) and chairman (1950–72). He resumed concert appearances during World War II, giving recitals, notably, with the contralto Kathleen Ferrier. Jacobson was highly regarded in festival adjudicating, with which he was involved for 50 years. As an extension of such work, he was chairman of the National Youth Orchestra’s executive committee (1950–67), and was a guiding light behind the National Festival of Music for Youth from its inception in 1970. He was made an OBE in 1971.
According to a list of his works prepared for his centenary year in 1996, Jacobson wrote 350 published compositions and arrangements. Among these are the cantata The Lady of Shalott, the Symphonic Suite for Strings and his greatest composition, the cantata The Hound of Heaven, a setting of Francis Thompson’s poem.