1934 – 2016
Composer and conductor well-known for radical, modern works as well as more subtle and traditional chamber and choral music. Very outspoken about environmental and political issues.
Most Notable Works
Eight Songs for A Mad King, a startling depiction of insanity, 1969
Taverner, an opera based on the life of British composer John Taverner, 1972.
Life in brief
1934 – Born in Salford to father Thomas, a manufacturer of optical instruments and mother Hilda, an amateur painter.
1953 – Begins his formal studies at the Royal Manchester College of Music having initially started to compose at the age of eight.
1960 – Takes up Head of Music post at Cirencester Grammar School, writing O Magnum Mysterium for its pupils.
1971 – Settles in the Orkney Islands and founds St. Magnus Festival often premiering new works using local school orchestras.
1987 – Begins association with fellow composer James MacMillan helping to bring his second Strathclyde Concerto (of ten) to children in Ayr.
2004 – Appointed Master of the Queen’s Music.
2009 – Made an honorary fellow of Homerton College, Cambridge.
2014 – World premiere of his Symphony No. 10 at the Barbican Hall, London.