Gwyn Arch studied English at Cambridge University at which time he played for both the Cambridge and Oxford University jazz bands. Later, as head of a grammar school English department, he ran a drama club and found himself writing a musical for secondary schools called ‘The Parker Plan’, which received performances in many parts of the English-speaking world for the next two decades.
Music became Gwyn’s full-time career in1964 when he was appointed director of music at a new teacher-training college in Reading. He taught here for 20 years, specialising in primary school methodology and the one-year postgraduate course, and founded his highly successful girls’ choir which represented the UK seven times in the international rounds of the BBC’s ‘Let the People Sing’ competition. He wrote many of his best-known SSA arrangements for the group. In 1971 he founded the Reading Male Choir which he still directs, resulting in the publication of more than a hundred TTBB arrangements. Gwyn has also conducted his 120-strong village choir for more than 40 years.
Gwyn has arranged everything from jazz standards and spirituals to musicals for the Faber Young Voices series, and later worked with Ben Parry on the Faber Carol Book. In 2006 he was awarded the MBE for services to music in Berkshire.