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Harrison Birtwistle


About this Artist

Born: 1934, Accrington, U.K.

"My operas and my theater works are very formal pieces. They usually come from musical ideas in the first place rather than ideas about subject matter. There is something very foreign about the theater that I'm on about - musicians seem to understand it!"

One of Britain's most acclaimed composers, Birtwistle grew up playing clarinet in the village band. He has composed in most genres, ranging from solo piano music to the operas Gawain, The Second Mrs. Kong, and The Last Supper. Birtwistle's honors include the 1986 Grawemeyer Award, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 1986, a British knighthood in 1988, the Siemens Prize in 1995, and a British Companion of Honor in 2001. He is currently Director of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Further listening:

Pulse Shadows (1989-96)

Claron McFadden, Arditti Quartet, Nash Ensemble, Reinbert de Leeuw (Teldec)

Theseus Game (2002)

Ensemble Modern, Martyn Brabbins,

Pierre André Valade (DG)