Peter Dickinson

b. 1934

British

Summary

The composer, writer and pianist Peter Dickinson was born in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, on 15 November 1934 and now lives in Suffolk. After Cambridge he spent three formative years in New York, initially as a graduate student at the Juilliard School, then as a critic on Musical Courier, and as a lecturer at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Since then, Dickinson’s music has been regularly performed and recorded by many leading musicians. His most ambitious works are three concertos – for organ, piano and violin – but there are other orchestral pieces, many chamber works, song cycles, keyboard music and choral pieces. Dickinson’s music is now well represented on CD (three Naxos and six Heritage), including two orchestra CDs, his complete organ music and the composer performing his own piano music.

As a pianist, Dickinson had a twenty-five-year partnership with his sister, the mezzo Meriel Dickinson, their recordings including American Song, and British Song. Dickinson’s literary interests are reflected in settings of poets such as W. H. Auden, E. E. Cummings and Dylan Thomas as well as Emily Dickinson, Philip Larkin and Stevie Smith. His three concertos were released together on CD in 2014, including the first recording of the Violin Concerto with Chloe Hanslip and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Clark Rundell. They recorded six further orchestral works in 2015.Peter Dickinson’s books include studies of Lennox Berkeley (two), Billy Mayerl, Aaron Copland, John Cage, Lord Berners, and Samuel Barber. Peter Dickinson: Words and Music (Boydell, 2016) brings together over fifty years of his writings and studies of his own music. For over thirty years he was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3 and is a critic on Gramophone. He is an Emeritus Professor of the Universities of Keele and London and is chair of the Bernarr Rainbow Trust, for which he has edited several books on music education.

Website: www.foxborough.co.uk
Critical Acclaim

“….a composer who has escaped the confines of the predictable without ever ceasing to communicate.” Arnold Whittall, Gramophone

“Conflicts, juxtapositions, attempted syntheses – Peter Dickinson’s work is full of them, all shook-up, all mixed-up, all jazzed up (Schubert and Edward MacDowell are among his victims!), yet always keenly imagined and meticulously reasoned and realised.” Christopher Palme

Biography

Peter Dickinson was born in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, on 15 November 1934 and now lives in Suffolk. He went to Cambridge as Organ Scholar of Queens’ College and then spent three formative years in New York, initially at the Juilliard School. From this time onwards Dickinson’s music has been regularly performed and recorded by some of the leading musicians and in 1988 the leading British TV arts programme, Melvyn Bragg’s South Bank Show, made a one-hour documentary about him. There are four full CDs of Dickinson’s music on Albany; three on Naxos; and seven on Heritage of his music or performances. Dickinson has been active as a pianist, notably in recitals, broadcasts and recordings through a twenty-five-year partnership with his sister, the mezzo Meriel Dickinson - see American Song, Heritage HTGCD 231 and British Song, Heritage HTGCD 240. He is also represented on CD with Ralph Holmes, HTGCD 228, and Sarah Francis, HTGCD 275. His literary interests are reflected in settings of poets such as W. H. Auden, E. E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas and John Heath-Stubbs (all on Albany TROY 365) as well as Emily Dickinson (TROY 760), Philip Larkin (Naxos 8.572287), Stevie Smith (TROY 369) and Thomas Blackburn (HTGCD 263). Peter Dickinson’s books include studies of Lennox Berkeley (two), Billy Mayerl, Aaron Copland, John Cage, Lord Berners, and Samuel Barber. For over thirty years Dickinson was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3 and is widely read as a critic on the Gramophone. He is an Emeritus Professor of the Universities of Keele and London and is chair of the Bernarr Rainbow Trust, for which he has edited several books. A volume of Dickinson’s writings, Words and Music: Peter Dickinson, was published by Boydell in 2016. His music is published by Novello/Wise Music. See also http://www.foxborough.co.uk/

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Discography