Don’t panic! Sir Harrison Birtwistle at 80

One of the leading figures in contemporary music celebrated his 80th birthday recently and events are being held up and down the country to mark the occasion, culminating with performances at this year’s  BBC Promenade Concerts.

Birtwistle’s works combine a modernist aesthetic with mythic power and emotional impact, taking inspiration from contemporary art and the rituals of classical mythology and pre-history.

Birtwistle composes for a variety of ensembles but is perhaps best known for his stage operas, in particular, ‘Gawain’ (1991).

Panic’ , premiered at the Last Night of the Proms in 1995. Other major works include the operas `Punch and Judy’ (1967), ‘The Mask of Orpheus’ (1984), ‘The Last Supper’ (2000), and ‘The Minotaur’ (2008).

Want to know more? The Music Library have put together this specially curated selection of books and music by and about Birstwistle.

Library members can also stream Birstwistle’s music using Naxos Music Library and find out more about his life and career with Oxford Music Online.

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