Kenneth Roland Walker Barritt, MusD, FRAM, FRSAMD, FRCO, Principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama 1969-1976; born November 20, 1914, died May 16, 1997

TO his face, of course, he was always Doctor Barritt. But we (staff and students alike) knew him as KB. These initials could be frightening when found at the end of a missive indicating that we had transgressed, but wonderfully exhilarating if found at the foot of a ''crit'' for an examination or a performance. We who were students of the 1960s, when he was Director of Studies in the School of Music of the RSAM, also loved this strong but unbelievably shy, sensitive, and reticent man. He inspired unparalleled loyalty among the students. He made up our timetables, he decided who would teach us and what would happen to us if we were successful, or if we failed. This sounds as if he was in a position of dictatorial power; we never felt that, because the man had unwavering integrity, was incorruptible and had those qualities of strict, fatherly kindness that are out of fashion nowadays. We admired

him enormously because, despite his virtually single-handed administration of the nitty-gritty of daily student activity, he was, and remained, a terrific musician. He loved it when a student showed a little personal initiative (composing, perhaps, or training a choir or taking up the conductor's baton) but was equally encouraging to students of average talent who fulfilled a more modest potential. And he could teach . . .

Kenneth Barritt was born and brought up in Northamptonshire. Educated at Kettering Grammar School, he studied music privately and later at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he gained his LRAM and ARAM as well as the Associateship and Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists. He gained the (external) Bachelor of Music of Durham University in 1936 and in 1943, while on war service with the RAF, gained his doctorate at the age of 29. Demobbed in 1946, he came to Scotland as organist and choirmaster to Coats Memorial Church in Paisley (now the scene of so many Paisley University graduations). In addition he teached part-time at the RSAM (under Principal Ernest Bullock). His qualities were quickly recognised for his duties were increased over the next six years to include the teaching of Harmony & Counterpoint, Rudiments, Piano, History, Appreciation, Aural Training, and ''The Art

of Teaching'': he had become an Academy GP. When interviewed for a full-time post as Assistant Director of Studies to the Vice-Principal, Wilfred Senior, he ''admitted to no administrative experience'', but Senior and Bullock persuaded the board of governors that he was the best-qualified member of the current staff. With Bullock's move to the Royal College of Music in 1953, the subsequent appointment of Henry Havergal as his successor and the death of Senior in 1955, Barritt assumed the position of Director of Studies (effectively co-Vice-Principal with Colin Chandler of the School of Drama). He must have been the ideal foil to the flamboyant Havergal, a man with splendid panache and a great public persona. Barritt had already proved himself a natural administrator and this freed Havergal to face the bigger issues of a crumbling building, new diplomas, the creation of a full-time teaching

staff in both schools, and later the increase in student numbers created by the expansionist Robbins Report.

Despite the administration, these late 50s and the 60s were KB's best years. Muriel Dickson (ex-New York Met soprano) had begun an opera class ''for training only'' in 1956. No public performances were to be given, but by 1959 Barritt had joined forces with Miss Dickson and had gained the enthusiastic support of Chandler and his staff to mount the first RSAM opera - Purcell's Dido and Aeneas - in the Athenaeum Theatre (nearly 40 years later the new Alexander Gibson Opera School will effectively realise his dream). This tentative start hardly anticipated the extraordinary and ambitious explosion of Academy Opera over the following years. Standards were no doubt not what we expect nowadays, but, by Jove, these were exciting times.

And KB did so much more. He took the weekly rehearsals of the Second Orchestra, the Madrigal Choir, and the Female Choral Class. Some of his most ambitious performances came in his Mixed Choral Class.

Kenneth Barritt succeeded Havergal as Principal in 1969 and remained in that post until (slightly early) retirement in 1976. These were not, sadly, the best years: his natural reticence rather worked against him in this much more public role (and he loathed publicity). His relationships with staff (now more bolshie than they would have dared under Havergal) were not exactly comfortable. Student rebellion, slow in coming to Scotland, reared its ugly head and hurt and disappointed him: he took things terribly personally.

But there were significant achievements during these years: he conceded that professional conductors should direct the First Orchestra (James Loughran was the first); he acknowledged the desire of staff to be properly represented on the Academic Council and the board of governors; he may have lost, through an increased workload, his life-giving day-to-day contact with the students, but he wouldn't let go of his beloved opera and had wonderful years, in collaboration with the architect Frank Dunbar of the Glasgow School of Art, taking students and colleagues to summer schools at San Gimigniano in Tuscany.

This last connection seems to have opened an area of

his imagination hitherto untapped; a love of the visual arts. His long Devon retirement was much enriched by frequent visits to the art centres of Italy and elsewhere. He also continued to act as an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (in 1958 he had been their first examiner in North Borneo!).

At all Academy concerns and dozens of other events, KB was rarely seen separately from his wife Phyllis who survives him, as do a son, Michael, and a daughter Vivienne.