GROUNDBREAKING COMPOSER DIES AT 87

Apr 18, 2022

By Steve Kee

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Harrison Birtwistle, widely recognized as one of Britain’s greatest contemporary composers, has died at 87.

Birtwistle’s publisher, Boosey & Hawkes, said he died Monday at his home in Mere, southwest England.

Birtwistle created daringly experimental music that sometimes tried the patience of listeners.

The BBC was once inundated with complaints after his piece “Panic” premiered on live television as part of the “Last Night of the Proms” concert. The composer was unperturbed. Birtwistle once said “the question of accessibility is not my problem.”

His works include “The Mask of Orpheus,” “Exody,” “Gawain” and “The Minotaur.”

He won awards in the United States, France and the U.K., where he was knighted by the Queen Elizabeth in 1988.

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