Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Surenne, John Thomas

SURENNE, JOHN THOMAS (1814–1878), organist and professor of music, born in 1814, was the son of Gabriel Surenne, a Frenchman, who came to London in 1800, and settled in Edinburgh in 1817 as a teacher of French and professor of military history and antiquities in the Scottish Naval and Military Academy.

In 1831 Surenne, a pupil of Henri Herz, became organist to St. Mark's Episcopal Chapel, Portobello, and in 1844 he was appointed organist to St. George's Episcopal Chapel, Edinburgh. He became a popular and respected teacher of music and the composer of arrangements for the pianoforte, psalm-tunes, chants, and the catch ‘Mister Speaker.’ In 1841 he compiled ‘The Dance Music of Scotland,’ which reached five editions; in 1852 ‘The Songs of Scotland,’ without words; and in 1854 ‘The Songs of Ireland.’ Surenne was also associated with George Farquhar Graham [q. v.], the music historian, in the publication of the national music of Scotland.

Surenne died in Edinburgh on 3 Feb. 1878, in his sixty-fourth year.

[Baptie's Musical Biography, p. 227; Scotsman, 4 Feb. 1878; Musical Scotland, p. 182; information from Mr. D. S. Surenne; Surenne's works.]

L. M. M.