BCMG Artist-in-Association Oliver Knussen

Oliver Knussen - O Hototogisu - fragment of a Japonisme

No figure in British contemporary music is more respected than Oliver Knussen… every piece makes its point perfectly and shows Knussen’s mastery of his musical language and influences.

The Guardian

O Hototogisu is still open to new Sound Investment support and we look forward to announcing details of its Birmingham premiere soon.

One of the pre-eminent composer-conductors in the world today, BCMG Artist-in-Association, Oliver Knussen needs little introduction to those familiar with contemporary music. An artist of extraordinary skill and precision, and recipient of the 2015 Queen’s Medal of Music, we are extremely excited to work with Knussen for his first BCMG commission, and particularly delighted to share the opportunity to support it with our Sound Investors, many of whom will have attended a concert conducted by the composer.

Oliver Knussen CBE was born in Glasgow in 1952, grew up near London (where his father was principal Doublebass of the London Symphony Orchestra) and now lives in Suffolk. He is presently Richard Rodney Bennett Professor of Music at the Royal Academy of Music.

The recipient of many honours and awards, including the Nemmers Prize in 2006 and the RPS Conductor Award in 2009, he has 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), and Artist-in-Association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (2009-2014).

Together with Colin Matthews he founded the Composition and Performance Courses at the Britten-Pears School in 1992 and in recent years has been invited for residencies at the Royal Academy of Music, the New England Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, 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 the late Maurice Sendak, as well as three symphonies, concertos for horn and violin, and smaller-scale works including Ophelia Dances, Coursing, Songs without Voices, Two Organa and Songs for Sue.

His 60th birthday was celebrated with special events in Aldeburgh, Amsterdam, Birmingham, London and Tanglewood and he has recorded more than 50 CDs for labels including Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Virgin and NMC.