Sir Harrison Paul Birtwistle CH (born 15 July 1934) is a British contemporary composer. The Order of the Companions of Honour is a British and Commonwealth Order. Events 1099 - First Crusade: Christian soldiers take the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem after the final Year 1934 ( MCMXXXIV) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display full 1934 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located A composer (literally meaning 'one who puts together' is a person who creates Music, usually in the medium of notation, for Interpretation and Performance
Birtwistle was born in Accrington in Lancashire and in 1952 entered the Royal Manchester College of Music in Manchester on a clarinet scholarship. Accrington is a town within the Hyndburn borough of Lancashire, in North West England. Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea Year 1952 ( MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Royal Northern College of Music or RNCM is a conservatoire in Manchester, England. The clarinet is a Musical instrument in the Woodwind family The name derives from adding the suffix -et meaning little to the Italian word A scholarship is an award of access to an institution or a financial aid award for an individual student scholar for the purpose of furthering their Education While there he met fellow composers Peter Maxwell Davies and Alexander Goehr, who, together with pianist John Ogdon and conductor Elgar Howarth, formed the New Music Manchester group, dedicated to the performances of serial and other modern works. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, CBE (b 8 September 1934 is an English Composer and conductor. Alexander Goehr (born 10 August 1932 in Berlin) is an English Composer and academic John Andrew Howard Ogdon ( January 27 1937 &ndash August 1 1989) was an English Pianist and Composer. Elgar Howarth (born November 4, 1935, Cannock, Staffordshire, England) is an English conductor and Composer. In Music, serialism is a technique for composition that uses sets to describe musical elements, and allows the manipulation of those
Birtwistle left the college in 1955 then studied at the Royal Academy of Music and afterwards made a living as a schoolteacher. Year 1955 ( MCMLV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar) The Royal Academy of Music in London, England, is a well known conservatoire and one of the leading music institutions in the world In 1965 a Harkness Fellowship gave him the opportunity to continue his studies in the United States and he decided to dedicate himself to composition. Year 1965 ( MCMLXV) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. The Harkness Fellowships (previously known as the Commonwealth Fund Fellowships) are a programme run by the Commonwealth Fund of New York City The United States of America —commonly referred to as the
In 1975 Birtwistle became musical director of the newly-established Royal National Theatre in London, a post he held until 1983. Year 1975 ( MCMLXXV) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The title of music director or musical director is used by many Symphony orchestras to designate the primary conductor and artistic leader of the orchestra The Royal National Theatre, located on the South Bank in the London Borough of Lambeth, England. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Year 1983 ( MCMLXXXIII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar) He has been honoured with a knighthood (1988) and as a Companion of Honour (2001). Knight is the English term for a social position originating in the Middle Ages. The Order of the Companions of Honour is a British and Commonwealth Order. From 1994 to 2001 he was Henry Purcell Professor of Composition at King's College London. Year 1994 ( MCMXCIV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar) Year 2001 ( MMI) was a Common year starting on Monday according to the Gregorian calendar. Henry Purcell (ˈpɜrsəl 10 September 1659 (? – 21 November 1695 was an English Baroque Composer. King's College London is a British Higher education institution and co-founding constituent college of the federal University of London.
At the 2006 Ivor Novello Awards he criticised pop musicians at the event for performing too loudly and using too many clichés. The Ivor Novello Awards, named after the Cardiff born entertainer Ivor Novello, are Awards for Songwriting and Composing. 
It would not be easy to fit Birtwistle into any sort of 'school' or 'movement'. For a time he would be referred to as a part of the 'Manchester School', a phrase invented as a parallel to the Second Viennese School to refer to Birtwistle, Goehr and Maxwell Davies. The Second Viennese School is the term generally used in English -speaking countries to denote the group of Composers that comprised Arnold Schoenberg The phrase has, however, since fallen out of use since the three composers were united only by their early studies in Manchester, not by musical style. His music is complex, written in a modernistic style with a clear, distinctive voice. His early work is sometimes evocative of Igor Stravinsky and Olivier Messiaen (composers he has acknowledged as influences) and his technique of juxtaposing blocks of sound is sometimes compared to Edgard Varèse. Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский) ( &ndash 6 April 1971 was a Russian born Composer, considered by many to Olivier Messiaen ( December 10 1908 &ndash April 27 1992 was a French Composer, organist and ornithologist. WikipediaWikiProject Composers#Lead section --> Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse, whose name was also spelled Edgar Varèse His early pieces made frequent use of ostinati and often had a ritualistic feel. In Music, an Ostinato (derived from Italian: "stubborn" see also Oscillation) is a motif or phrase which is persistently A ritual is a set of actions often thought to have Symbolic value the performance of which is usually prescribed by a Religion or by the Traditions These have been toned down in recent decades as he has adapted and transformed the techniques into more subtle methods. With its strong emphasis on rhythm, the music is often described as brutal or violent, but this analysis mistakes the strong sound world for an attempt to evoke violent actions. The explicit violence of his first opera Punch and Judy — in which the murder of Judy by her husband is so much more shocking when performed live on stage rather than by glove puppets in the classic British seaside entertainment — can easily be misinterpreted as a clue to the intention of his abstract music. Opera is an art form in which Singers and Musicians perform a Dramatic work (called an opera which combines a text (called a Libretto Punch and Judy is a traditional popular English Puppet show featuring the characters of Punch and his wife Judy The style is stark and uncompromising.
His favourite image for explaining how his pieces work is to compare them to taking a walk through a town—especially the sort of small town more common in continental Europe than Great Britain. Such a walk might start in the town square. Having explored its main features, we would set off down one of the side streets. As the walk continues, we might glimpse the town square down different streets, sometime a long way off, other times quite close. We may never return to the square in the rest of the walk or we may visit a new part of it that was not explored initially. Birtwistle suggests that this experience is akin to what he does in the music. His image conveys the way that a core musical idea is altered, varied and distorted as the piece of music progresses. The core music forms a reference point to which everything else is directed, even when we are walking in a completely different direction. Sometimes we will be less aware that it is the same musical material we are hearing; sometimes we may have been listening for a while before realising that we have heard this music before (just as one might have been looking up the street before realising that it is the town square that can be glimpsed through the traffic). He is not, therefore, suggesting that we imagine this walk through the town as a literal explanation of what is happening in the music; he does not 'recreate' the effect in the music (as Charles Ives does in some of his orchestral pieces). Charles Edward Ives (October 20 1874 – May 19 1954 was an American Composer of modernist Classical music.
An early variant of this technique involved literally cutting up the music, the most blatant example being Verses for Ensembles. Having composed a portion of music, Birtwistle would then cut it arbitrarily into a number of sections, which he then rearranged randomly. He would then add introductions, epilogues and music to link them together. This method was intended to give the whole piece unity, by having musical material with its own inner coherence scattered amongst musical material that still related to the core material but did not necessarily relate to itself.
Birtwistle's method of working is also reflected in the events of the first Act of his opera Gawain. Up to the point where the Green Knight is kneeling in front of Gawain awaiting the axe blow that will cut off his head, the action has proceeded mainly in chronological order. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century With Gawain holding the axe aloft, the stage is suddenly blacked out and, within a minute, the action has been rewound to the point preceding the Green Knight's entry to the Court of Arthur. King Arthur is a legendary British leader who according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against the Saxon invaders Events are played through again, though compressed and with various small alterations, through the beheading and into the subsequent events. The events on stage are not randomly ordered, but the one event is portrayed from more than one perspective. For the opera The Mask of Orpheus this entailed two sets of singer/actors performing contradictory versions of the one event from the Orpheus myths. The Mask of Orpheus is an Opera with music by Harrison Birtwistle and a Libretto by Peter Zinovieff. This non-linear portrayal of events on stage gives the listener a means of approach to the abstract compositions, with the same musical ideas being repeated but with extensive variation. The result is music that is often very episodic in structure. A clear example occurs in Silbury Air in which a readily identifiable music motif — a blow from the tom-toms followed by scurrying figures from the strings and woodwind — is elaborated in a number of different ways as the piece progresses.
As a result, even when he is not writing a visual piece involving stage action, Birstwistle's music is frequently described as dramatic in construction. The music does not follow the logic and rules of classical forms such as sonata form, but is structured more like a drama. Sonata form is a Musical form that has been used widely since the early Classical period. Furthermore, different musical instruments can almost be seen to take the part of different characters in the drama. This is especially apparent in a performance of Secret Theatre. For various portions of the piece, a number of the instrumentalists perform in a 'soloist' capacity. For this they leave their normal seat in the orchestral group and stand in a typical concerto soloist's position, returning to the orchestra when they are no longer given that priority. Though not normally signalled by a change of position, this sort of changing role is constantly seen in his music. Related to this is the use of geological imagery to explain the structure of his 1986 orchestral piece Earth Dances. A number of different layers of musical material are present. At any one time a layer might be to the fore, while at other times it might be buried deep beneath the other layers and no longer as apparent.
Though well established and widely respected in the classical music world — modules on his music now feature in many university undergraduate music courses — Birtwistle was relatively unknown to the general public until the mid-1990s. Although he had been honoured with a knighthood in 1988, two events brought him to public attention.
A group of anti-modernist musicians, led by Frederick Stocken and calling themselves 'The Hecklers', attempted to disrupt the first night of the 1994 revival of Gawain at the Royal Opera House, London. James Frederick Stocken (b 1967 in Birmingham) is an English classical composer teacher musician and Musicologist. WikipediaWikiProject Opera --> The Royal Opera House is an Opera house and major performing Having remained silent throughout the performance, their strategically placed sympathisers broke into a tirade of catcalls at the conclusion in an attempt to draw attention to their campaign to rid contemporary music of anything post-Romantic. The event, however, backfired on them, for it turned a relatively unimportant revival for the opera house into an event that many more people were keen to attend.
Birtwistle gained particular notoriety in 1995 when Panic was premièred at that year's Last Night of the Proms. See also 1995 in music (UK Musical groups established in 1995 Record The word premiere (or première, from the French première, "first" generally means "a first performance" The Proms, more formally known as The BBC Proms, or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, is an eight-week summer season of daily Orchestral His music had not previously been heard in so public a forum and most of the press did not hold back its negative criticism of the piece. Although the first half of the concert incorporates pieces that reflect the overall theme of each year's season, such an uncompromising piece had not previously been programmed, let alone in the second half, which traditionally features mainstream, popular and patriotic music.
For a comprehensive list, see List of compositions by Harrison Birtwistle. This is a list of compositions by Harrison Birtwistle (born 1934 a British composer of Contemporary classical music.