Joseph Horovitz

b. 1926

British

Summary

Joseph Horovitz was born in Vienna in 1926 and emigrated to England in 1938. He studied music at New College, Oxford, with Gordon Jacob at the Royal College of Music where he won the Farrar Prize, and for a further year with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. The Festival of Britain in 1951 brought him to London as conductor of ballet and concerts at the Festival Amphitheatre. He then held positions as conductor to the Ballets Russes, associate director of the Intimate Opera Company, on the music staff at Glyndebourne, and as guest composer at the Tanglewood Festival, USA.

His compositions number twelve ballets, nine concertos, two one-act operas, chamber music, works for brass and wind bands, film, television and radio, and choral works - most famously Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo. Since 1961 he has taught at the Royal College of Music, where he became a Fellow in 1981. He has won two Ivor Novello Awards and in 1996 he was awarded the Gold Order of Merit of the City of Vienna, and in 2007 the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art First Class. The Worshipful Company of Musicians awarded him the Cobbett Medal in 2008 for services to chamber music. In 2017 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music of the Royal College of Music, London.
Critical Acclaim
He is a composer of remarkable versatility, graceful wit and an enviable ability to communicate, whether in his refreshingly light or more serious styles. - The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

It is with unfailing skill and abundant invention that the composer combines his jazz harmonies and rhythms with sonata, aria and rondo to produce in the outer movements particularly an exhilarating feeling of boundless energy and growing momentum. (Trumpet Concerto) - The Daily Telegraph

Biography

Joseph Horovitz was born in Vienna in 1926 and emigrated to England in 1938. He studied music at New College, Oxford, while acting as an official lecturer in music appreciation to the Forces and giving piano recitals in army camps. After taking his BMus and MA degrees, he studied composition with Gordon Jacob at the Royal College of Music, where he won the Farrar Prize, and for a further year with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

His first post was as music director of the Bristol Old Vic, where he composed, arranged and conducted the incidental music for two seasons. The Festival of Britain in 1951 brought him to London as conductor of ballet and concerts at the Festival Amphitheatre. He then held positions as conductor to the Ballets Russes, associate director of the Intimate Opera Company, on the music staff at Glyndebourne, and as guest composer at the Tanglewood Festival, USA. He toured extensively in Great Britain and abroad, conducting major London orchestras as well as on the BBC.

In 1959 he won the Commonwealth Medal for Composition and in 1961 a Leverhulme Research Award to work with Philomusica of London. He has also won two Ivor Novello Awards. Since 1961 he has taught composition and analysis at the Royal College of Music, where he has been a Fellow since 1981. From 1969-96 he was an Executive Council Member of the Performing Right Society, and President of CISAC's International Council of Composers and Lyricists from 1981-89. In 1996 he was awarded the Gold Order of Merit of the City of Vienna, and in 2002 the Nino Rota Prize, Italy. In 2007 he received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art First Class, and honorary membership of the Austrian Composers' Society. The Worshipful Company of Musicians awarded him the Cobbett Medal in 2008 for services to chamber music. In 2017 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music of the Royal College of Music, London, and in 2019 he became an Honorary Fellow of New College, Oxford.

His compositions number twelve ballets, nine concertos, two one-act operas including 'Gentlemen's Island', orchestral works - including Fantasia on a Theme of Couperin (1962) and Sinfonietta for Light Orchestra (1971). He has written several works for brass band - including the Euphonium Concerto (1972) and Concertino Classico (1985) - and also for wind band. His chamber music includes five string quartets and the often performed Sonatina (1981) for clarinet and piano, and the Music Hall Suite (1964). His best-known choral compositions are Horrortorio (1959), a Hoffnung commission, the award-winning Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo (1970), and Summer Sunday (1975), an ecological cantata, and an oratorio 'Samson'. His activities have extended over a wide range of music, from Son et Lumière productions in England and overseas to scores for theatre, film, radio, and over seventy TV plays and series.

News

Performances

13th June 2020

PERFORMERS
Langcliffe Singers
CONDUCTOR
Nigel Waugh
LOCATION
St John’s Church / Settle / United Kingdom

13th July 2020

PERFORMERS
The Winkleigh Singers
CONDUCTOR
Roland Smith
LOCATION
Umberleigh / Crediton / United Kingdom

Photos

Discography