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Peter Dickinson (b1934)

The British composer, writer and pianist Peter Dickinson was born at Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, on 15 November 1934. After attending The Leys School, Cambridge, he became Organ Scholar of Queens’ College and then spent three formative years in New York. Initially he was a graduate student at The Juilliard School of Music, on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship, where he studied with Bernard Wagenaar. In this period many of his compositions were performed both at Juilliard and in New York itself. Freelance work as a critic and pianist followed, with a final year on the faculty of Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey. After returning to England he taught at the College of St Mark and St John, Chelsea, and at the University of Birmingham. In 1974 he started the Music Department at Keele University, where he set up a Centre for American Music. His involvement with American music continued through regular recitals, broadcasts and recordings with his sister, the mezzo Meriel Dickinson, as well as BBC Radio 3 features, articles and reviews. Many of his compositions appeared prominently in the 1980s and in 1986 Melvyn Bragg’s South Bank Show made a programme about him. From 1991 to 1997 Dickinson held the chair at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and then he was Head of Music at the Institute of United States Studies, University of London, until 2004.




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