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"In our time there are many artists who do something because it is new.. they see their value and their justification in this newness. They are deceiving themselves.. novelty is seldom the essential. This [my work] has to do with one thing only... making a subject better from its intrinsic nature." [Toulouse-Lautrec]

Greetings!

With the average visit to any website being measured in just a few seconds, below is a quick biographical sketch. For a more extended, detailed one with many links to the fine musicians, commissioners, festivals etc. who have engaged with my work, please click here....

My scores are available on this site for evaluation purposes (menu on the left). Perhaps one day this will change... Please explore and if you might be interested in including me in your plans I would be delighted to hear from you (click here to contact me by email)!

QUICK BIOGRAPHY
For a detailed biography with many links to the fine musicians who have kindly played my work please click here

Born in 1960, I moved to live with my grandmother when I was ten. In a large house with plenty of room for imagining and dreaming I "became a composer" and began my lifelong journey! My studies eventually led me to Clare College Cambridge, and York Universities to read first music and then composition. Things seems to be moving forward with many performances and two national prizes. Despite this I came to dislike not only my own work but also the wider contemporary music world with which I found less and less common ground. Around 1989 I stopped composing altogether and remained silent for 12 years or so.

In 2001 a dear friend, pianist Michael Bell, provoked me into writing once more. The precocious playing of one of his young pupils also revealed music again to be beautiful - sometimes the simplest truths need to be re-experienced! It was as if a veil had been lifted. Fired up to write again, there appeared a new sense of direction and "a voice", almost "pre-formed", this arriving in one "package". Perhaps the silence had only been external...

Since this time my work has been awarded internationally several times (Finland, Bulgaria, Ireland, USA), played increasingly in Europe and the Americas, and been broadcast. Commissions have come from Brazil, Germany, Italy, UK, Norway, Czech Republic etc.. Most encouragingly, great musicians have spoken kindly about my music - Henning Kraggerud, Sir Charles Mackerras, Lydia Artymiw, Raphael Wallfisch to name but a few. Living in rural Lincolnshire (UK), as I do, away from cultural centres and only intermittently meeting other musicians, this endorsement gives me confidence to face my musical future with optimism; as does the altruism of the now many fine artists who have accepted pieces simply because they resonated. If I am stylistically isolated, so be it - I plough my own furrow...

For a detailed biography with many links to the fine musicians who have kindly played my work please click here


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....Of late...

2011/12 saw many pieces pieces played. In the first half of the year these included performances at the Paul Klee Centre in Bern, by Elizabeth Cooney and Elisaveta Blumina at The Model in Sligo, Minjeong Shin in Philadelphia and by Contemporary Consort at the King's Lynn Festival. During the autumn works were played by Ostap and Olga Shutko at the Contrasts Festival in Lviv, Ukraine (photos here), and Konstantin Lifschitz at the 5th Yerevan International Festival in Armenia (poster here), l'Ensemble Quartz in Belgium and the Coull Quartet at Warwick and Stamford Arts Centres.
2012 found orchestral works given by Daniel Raiskin the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie and Ondřej Vrabec with the Moravian Philharmonic. A string quintet was commissioned by Norfolk Concerts and played by Mainzer Virtuosi in Mainz and at the Casalmaggiore Festival.

In 2012/13 several CDs are being made, the first of which has already been released by Sheva Contemporary, manager Ermanno de Stefani. This is of Steps Volume 2: Studies of Invention played by Giovanni Santini and can be purchased here. Price €10 +p&p. You can hear samples from each track on this site's audio page.... Others will be released by Ostap and Olga Shutko, Michael Bell, Mariano Lucci and Henning Kraggerud.


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....in my own view...

(....How difficult, indeed futile, to describe artistic ideas in words - beware composers who talk too much!... Matisse was right: "Whoever wishes to devote himself to painting should begin by cutting out his tongue".)

In all recent work there has been a constant development and re-working of certain harmonic and motivic obsessions. These form an intricately self-referential, almost iconic world, as for example in the paintings of Edvard Munch. Sound-surface and content have become increasingly 'one', though it is (as for my first teacher, Robin Holloway) an "eclectic unity". There is a warm embrace of the past, not an attempt to escape or supplant it. I has striven towards an accommodation between rich harmony, locally tonal, and a suppleness of rhythm, whilst retaining clarity and immediacy. Above all "character", personality, genuine and transparent ideas and "engagement" are central.

I have a feeling of increasing isolation from much of what happened in the later 20th century avante garde (which still frames the mindsets of so many promoters and broadcasters). I particularly dislike music which is primarily 'of process', rather than 'of moment'. Machines, super-complexity, mindnumbing repetition, empty experimentalism, and "static, expressionistic wallpaper'"hold no attraction. I have sought to forge a language which shuns fashionable hyperbole, gimmickery, smokescreens of complexity and shallowness, to which both music and the visual arts have increasingly succumbed - innovation, of course; 'adolescence' no.... I have no interest in "the new" for its own sake, of "pushing the boundaries", and of deifying "the cutting edge" - I despise this current orthodoxy.

Heroes remain Janacek, Mahler, Ravel, Sibelius, Rachmaninov, Debussy and Prokofiev, with affectionate places also for my first teacher Robin Holloway, Wilhelm Killmayer, Judith Weir and friends Ståle Kleiberg, Fabian Müller, Alissa Firsova and Marcus Paus (discoveries from a shared commission in Norway).


(Not all of the recordings of the composer's works are available on this website. Some of these can be heard by contacting the composer.)

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