Britain’s favourite composer announced

Following our joint poll with BBC Music Magazine we announce Britain's most popular composer. Do you recognise him?


Following BBC Countryfile’s Ralph Vaughan Williams special on the 12 October, we teamed up with BBC Music magazine to ask our readers who their favourite British composer was. Hundreds of you voted in our joint poll and the winning composer was…


Edward William Elgar (1857-1934)

The votes have been counted and Edward Elgar came out on top, with 22.5 per cent of the total number of votes. Ralph Vaughan Williams came very close with 22 per cent and the next most popular were Benjamin Britten with 14.5 per cent and Henry Purcell with 10.5 per cent.

John Tavener and William Byrd secured 7.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively, while Gustav Holst and Thomas Tallis both scored 5.5 per cent. Frederick Delius and Arnold Bax recieved 3.5 per cent and 2 per cent of the total number of votes respectively.

The composers each scored similarly in both polls, with the exception of John Tavener whose share of the vote for Countryfile (12 per cent) was four times that of BBC Music (3 per cent).

Scroll down to view a breakdown of the results.

To explore music by a range of British composers, take a look at Radio 3 Breakfast’s Best of British playlist.


Combined poll results

Arnold Bax: 2%

Benjamin Britten: 14.5%

William Byrd: 6.5%

Frederick Delius: 3.5%

Edward Elgar: 22.5%

Gustav Holst: 5.5%

Henry Purcell: 10.5%

Thomas Tallis: 5.5%

John Tavener: 7.5%

Ralph Vaughan Williams: 22%

BBC Music Magazine results

Arnold Bax: 2%

Benjamin Britten: 15%

William Byrd: 5%

Frederick Delius: 5%

Edward Elgar: 23%

Gustav Holst: 6%

Henry Purcell: 12%

Thomas Tallis: 5%

John Tavener: 3%

Ralph Vaughan Williams: 24%

BBC Countryfile magazine results

Arnold Bax: 2%

Benjamin Britten: 14%

William Byrd: 8%

Frederick Delius: 2%

Edward Elgar: 22%

Gustav Holst: 5%

Henry Purcell: 9%

Thomas Tallis: 6%

John Tavener: 12%

Ralph Vaughan Williams: 20%