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Oliver Knussen

Country of origin: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Birthday: June 12, 1952
Date of death: July 8, 2018

About Oliver Knussen

One of the world’s most eminent composer-conductors, Oliver Knussen (1952–2018) was born in Glasgow, grew up near London (where his father was principal Double Bass of the London Symphony Orchestra) and lived in Suffolk.

The recipient of many honours and awards, including the Nemmers Prize (2006) and the Royal Philharmonic Society Conductor Award (2009), he served as Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival (1983–98), Head of Contemporary Music at the Tanglewood Music Center (1986–93), Principal Guest Conductor of the Hague Residentie Orchestra (1993–97), Music Director of the London Sinfonietta (1998–2002), Artist-in-Association with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (2006-18) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (2009–14), and Richard Rodney Bennett Professor at the Royal Academy of Music (2014–18). He was appointed CBE in 1994 and received the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2015.

Together with Colin Matthews he founded the Composition and Performance courses at the Britten-Pears School in 1992. In his later years he was invited for residencies at the Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, and the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Among his best-known works are the operas Where the Wild Things Are and Higglety Pigglety Pop!, written in collaboration with Maurice Sendak, as well as three Symphonies, concertos for Horn and Violin, and many smaller-scale instrumental and vocal works including Ophelia Dances, Coursing, Songs without Voices, Two Organa and Requiem: Songs for Sue. His 60th birthday was celebrated with special events in Aldeburgh, Amsterdam, Birmingham, London and Tanglewood, and in 2016 his work was the subject of a retrospective Composer Festival given by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. He recorded more than 60 CDs.