British composer Oliver Knussen dies aged 66

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jserraglio
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British composer Oliver Knussen dies aged 66

Post by jserraglio » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:08 am

BBC News

The British composer and conductor Oliver Knussen has died at the age of 66 after a short illness.

His publisher Faber Music confirmed his death and saluted his "extraordinary impact on the musical community".

Knussen previously worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and most recently with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

An opera adaptation of the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are was among his best-known work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVtFrro ... tj8f7JHXSg

Last year the conductor cancelled a concert at the Barbican in London after developing pneumonia.

Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms and BBC Orchestras commented: "Olly's death is devastating - he is a towering and irreplaceable figure in British music and had many associations over the years with BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Proms and BBC Radio 3.

"His compositions had such strength, economy and clarity. He selflessly championed the music of fellow composers and was an all-round lovely, thoughtful, engaging man who will be hugely missed by everyone. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

Knussen was born in Glasgow and grew up near London. He began composing at the age of six and wrote his first symphony at the age of 15.

He went on to conduct its premiere with the London Symphony Orchestra, where his father was principal double bass.

After that he conducted for different orchestras around the world, earning a CBE in 1994 and becoming the music director of the London Sinfonietta in 1998.

Image
Knussen was awarded The Queen's Medal for Music in 2016

Among the prolific composer's most-loved works were his two children's operas, Where the Wild Things Are and Higglety Pigglety Pop!, both based on books by Maurice Sendak.

The composer-conductor was married to television director Sue Knussen, who died in 2003. The couple have a daughter, Sonya, who is a mezzo-soprano.

Knussen appeared last month conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Aldeburgh Festival in Suffolk.

He was scheduled to appear during the BBC's Philharmonic 2018-19 season at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall in March.

maestrob
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Re: British composer Oliver Knussen dies aged 66

Post by maestrob » Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:26 pm

Image

Wonderful album, this CD received acclaim when it was issued. Knussen's conducting here is spot-on, while the Cleveland Orchestra manages a more transparent sound than Stokowski got in the original Phase 4 release from the 1960's.

John F
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Re: British composer Oliver Knussen dies aged 66

Post by John F » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:57 pm

I didn't realize he was that young. He may be best known for his two children's operas to texts by Maurice Sendak, and in the profession, for hardly ever finishing commissioned work on deadline. And as maestrob shows, he was active and successful as a conductor, mainly of new music; I'm really surprised by his Musorgsky record.
John Francis

SONNET CLV
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Re: British composer Oliver Knussen dies aged 66

Post by SONNET CLV » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:59 pm

"Knussen was born in Glasgow and grew up near London. He began composing at the age of six and wrote his first symphony at the age of 15.
He went on to conduct its premiere with the London Symphony Orchestra, where his father was principal double bass."

I recall listening to an American NPR broadcast of that symphony performance, conducted by the young composer. That broadcast was decades ago. At the time my tuner was cabled to a cassette recorder and I taped the broadcast. Over the years I've listened to that First Symphony several times. It's probably my favorite work by Knussen. Apparently he liked it a lot less than I and somewhere along the way had the work withdrawn. I don't believe there are any formal recordings of it. I'm glad I still have that cassette tape of the performance.

Rach3
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Re: British composer Oliver Knussen dies aged 66

Post by Rach3 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:53 pm

His 3rd Symphony I have yet to hear named in this interesting-looking Guardian series I have yet to read. I'd have to get busy !

https://www.theguardian.com/music/serie ... symphonies

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