Composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle has died aged 87

Composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle has died aged 87, his publisher has confirmed.

Among his many compositions, he is best known for The Triumph of Time and his operas such as The Mask of Orpheus, Gawain and The Minotaur.

A statement published on his publisher’s website reads: “Boosey & Hawkes and Rayfield Allied announce with deep sadness the death of Sir Harrison Birtwistle CH on April 18, 2022 at his home in Mere, United Kingdom, aged 87. “

Sir Harrison was born in Accrington, Lancashire in 1934 and studied clarinet and composition at the Royal Manchester College of Music.

In 1960 he sold his clarinets to pursue composition and traveled to Princeton University in the USA as a Harkness Fellow, where he completed the opera Punch And Judy.

This work, along with Verses For Ensembles and The Triumph Of Time, established Sir Harrison as a leading voice in British music.

Sir Harrison’s music has attracted international conductors and has been heard at major festivals and concert series in Europe, the United States and Japan.

In 1975 he became musical director of the newly founded Royal National Theater in London, a post he held until 1983.


Sir Harrison Birtwistle was made a Companion of Honor in 2001 (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

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Sir Harrison received many honors during his lifetime, including a knighthood in 1988 and a Companion of Honor in 2001.

Leading music institutions paid tribute to the composer, including the Royal Philharmonic Society, which said his “music shook the earth”.

It wrote on Twitter: “We honor a true musical colossus, the great Harrison Birtwistle, who sadly passed away.

“As a notable five-time RPS Award winner, his music rocked the earth. There was power and power in every note he wrote. We will listen to his works with reverence for decades to come.”

The London Symphony Orchestra also paid tribute, saying: “Sad news to hear today that one of Britain’s greatest composers, Harrison Birtwistle, has passed away.

“Our thoughts go to his family and friends and also to his entire musical family.”

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/composer-sir-harrison-birtwistle-has-died-aged-87-41564206.html Composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle has died aged 87

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