SIR John Manduell, a founding trustee and former chairman of Lake District Summer Music, has died aged 89.

Born in Johannesburg, Sir John studied at Jesus College Cambridge, University of Strasbourg, and as a Performing Right Scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was a composition student of William Alwyn and Sir Lennox Berkeley.

He joined the BBC as a producer in 1956, became producer to the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1959, head of music for the Midlands and East Anglia in 1961, and inaugurated the all-day Music Programme (now Radio 3) in 1964.

In 1968, he left the BBC to become the first director of music at the University of Lancaster and in 1971 accepted an invitation to be the first principal of the new Royal Northern College of Music, retiring in 1996.

He was a founding trustee of Lake District Summer Music in 1985 and its chairman from 1997 to 2005. He passed away on Wednesday 25 October.

In 1995 he founded the European Opera Centre, of which he became chairman. Sir John was involved in setting up El Sistema in Venezuela, and served on the boards of the British Council, Arts Council, Association of European Conservatoires, European Music Year, Northern Ballet, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, British Arts Festivals Association and the European Festivals Association.

His other activities outside broadcasting and education included representing the BBC on the Cheltenham International Festival of Music's Management Committee, 1962-67, and becoming the Cheltenham Festival’s first Programme Director, 1969 to 1994. During this period his compositions were more often to be heard at the Cardiff Festival, including three commissions, the String Quartet (1970), Prayers from the Ark (1978) and the Double Concerto (1985).

He was created CBE in 1982 and Knight Bachelor in 1989. In 1990 the French Government created him Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. Other honours include the award of the first PRS/RPS Leslie Boosey Award for services to contemporary music in 1980, and Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Cheltenham, conferred in 1994. He received Honorary Doctorates from Lancaster University, Manchester University & the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and Fellowships from the all of the UK’s Royal Schools of Music, the Guildhall School of Music, Manchester Polytechnic and Trinity College of Music.

He will be deeply missed by his widow, Renna Kellaway MBE, and their family, and by all those whose lives he touched here at LDSM.