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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » R » Rawsthorne, Alan



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Alan Rawsthorne (5/02/1905 - 7/24/1971)

Alan Rawsthorne was born in Lancashire in the north of England. At first he was aiming to be a dentist, but found that he disliked the profession. He decided to try for entry into the Royal Manchester School of Music, not Europe's most fashionable conservatory at that time. He wanted to study piano or cello, but managed to pass neither examination. Just how he managed entry and continued study there is something of a mystery. At the age of 25 he went to study with the great pianist, Egon Petri, and obviously became a reasonable keyboard player. When he returned to England he obtained a teaching post in one of England's specialist music schools at Dartington Hall. His development as a composer was protracted, his first work to gain any significant recognition, the 'Theme and Variations for two violins', did not appear until he was 33. The following year he had a most successful first performance of his Symphonic Studies at the International Society of Contemporary Music held in Warsaw. It was immediately apparent that he was not following in the footsteps of the famous English composers at the beginning of the century. Though a very individual voice, he was looking more towards Scandinavia for his musical 'parentage'.

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