Birtwistle

Born: 1934

Died:

Harrison Birtwistle

Sir Harrison Birtwistle's music is frequently performed by some of the world’s leading conductors: Boulez, Barenboim, Dohnányi, Rattle, Pappano and Welser-Möst among them. He was awarded a KBE in 1988 and a CH in 2001. 

Birtwistle studied clarinet and composition at the Royal Manchester College of Music (1952-55), where he was part of a highly talented group of students alongside Peter Maxwell Davies, Alexander Goehr, John Ogdon and Elgar Howarth. He sold his clarinets to devote himself full-time to composition, and having won a scholarship to Princeton he wrote his first opera, Punch and Judy, a work which sealed his reputation. He devoted himself to music theatre in the 1970s and early ’80s, a period which culminated in The Mask of Orpheus in 1986. This highly fruitful time also saw the creation of some of his most important scores: Secret Theatre, Silbury Air and Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perputuum. His most recent opera, Minotaur, was premiered at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 2008 to great acclaim. His music is frequently performed by some of the world’s leading conductors: Boulez, Barenboim, Dohnányi, Rattle, Pappano and Welser-Möst among them. He was awarded a KBE in 1988 and a CH in 2001. 

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