AN OXFORD academic and much-loved singer who helped secure the future of the study of classics at Trinity College has died aged 73.

Peter George McCarthy Brown contributed huge amounts to both university and civil life, particularly to the Oxford music scene, in which he was an avid performer.

Born in Oxford on May 8, 1945, Peter lived in the city all his life.

He was the second of four sons to Alan and Elizabeth Brown, mayor and mayoress of Oxford in 1953.

As a youngster, he attended the Dragon School, winning a scholarship to Westminster School in 1958.

He joined Trinity College as a classics tutor in 1968, having graduated from Corpus Christi the previous year, and was an Oxford don his entire working life.

Mr Brown served the college in many roles, including pro-president, and served many university bodies, where he was renowned for his attention to detail and good judgement.

He was a specialist in ancient Greek and Roman comedy, and his translations of the plays of the Roman playwright Terence have been used as the basis of dramatic productions.

On approaching retirement, Mr Brown spearheaded a fundraising drive to provide an endowment to safeguard his classics post.

The Brown Fellowship, made possible by the generosity of his former pupils, has allowed students at Trinity to share his love of classics and will continue to do so.

Outside of University life he is remembered for his many musical contributions.

Mr Brown sang for many years in the Schola Cantorum of Oxford from its inception in 1964, and served as its chair of trustees for a spell.

He was a long-term member of the Oxford Pro Musica Singers, and often formed part of a small group who delivered Radio Oxford listeners’ requests for Carols.

Mr Brown took a number of operatic roles with local groups and in the 1970’s he sang with the Monteverdi Choir, at the Proms and on their trips abroad.

His children’s friends remember him as the lead in productions at St Philip & St James Primary School, north Oxford, in the early 1980s.

Mr Brown was also in great demand as a soloist at local church concerts such as St. Giles, St Barnabas and St Andrews.

He was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and, despite many cycles of chemotherapy, he continued his scholarly work and played an active role in the university’s archive for the performance of Greek and Roman drama, in which his musical expertise was greatly valued.

He gave much-valued service on the Oxfordshire NHS Research Ethics Committee, which he had joined on retirement.

In later life, Mr Brown rediscovered his love of running, becoming a regular face at the Saturday morning Park Run in Cutteslowe park.

His recently-completed book on Terence’s play, The Girl from Andros, is due to be published in 2019.

Peter died peacefully at home on Friday, November 30 and is survived by his wife Lesley, children Jonathan, Susannah and Penny and seven grandchildren.

Peter’s funeral will be held in Trinity College Chapel on Friday, December 21, with enquiries sent to

The family has asked for donations, if desired, to, instead of flowers.

A memorial service will be held in 2019.