Ian Whyte

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Ian Whyte was the BBC's Scottish Music Director from 1931 to 1945.

Prior to the BBC

Ian Whyte began his musical training and career at the Carnegie School of Music in Dunfermline. He went on to the Royal College of Music in London at which he had won an open scholarship. He studied under Sir Charles Stanford, and later Dr Vaughan Williams.

After a short spell in the music side of the British Broadcasting Company at Glasgow, in late 1923 he moved to Aboyne, where he did much fine work in connection with the choral society, producing many of Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

Whyte was a particularly fine pianist, not only as a recitalist, but in the difficult art of accompanying. He established himself as the most brilliant and promising of the younger Scottish composers.

BBC career

In December 1930 he was appointed the BBC's Aberdeen Station Representative mainly because of his many contacts in the dramatic and musical life of Deeside. While working for the BBC, Whyte retained his position as private musician at Glen Tanar House and conductor of the Aboyne Choral Society and organist of the church.[1]

In September 1931 he was appointed to take charge of music for the BBC's Scottish Region, although through that work he still kept himself in touch with Aberdeen and the north.

The BBC staff magazine, Ariel, said that he shared premises at 13 Queen Street, Edinburgh with Mary Thomson, who had played flute and piccolo in the Reid Symphony Orchestra. It also noted that Whyte "is probably the only music director in Britain who has broadcast an eye-witness account of a football match".[2]

In August 1945 the BBC announced that Whyte had been freed from other duties to devote his whole time to conducting the BBC Scottish Orchestra which, following the end of the Second World War, had been increased to symphonic strength and was to be heard frequently in the new BBC Scottish Home Service, as well as in the other services of the BBC at home and abroad.[3] His position as Scottish Music Director was taken over by Herbert Wiseman.


  1. 'New BBC director for Aberdeen', Press and Journal, 18 December 1930.
  2. Ariel, June 1936, 25.
  3. 'Music department of the BBC', Glasgow Herald, 7 August 1945, 4.
Media offices
Preceded by
Neil McLean
Aberdeen Station Representative
Succeeded by
Moultrie Kelsall