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David Lyon (b1938)

David Lyon was born in 1938 in Walsall, in the English Midlands, and was educated at Queen Mary’s Grammar School. He began taking piano lessons when he was around eight years old and quickly developed an assured technique. However, he showed no particular interest either in listening to or composing for the instrument. It was the sound of the symphony orchestra that provided the creative stimulus he needed. His earliest attempts show the strong influence of Sibelius ("Hearing the Fifth Symphony for the first time", he says, "was like listening to my own imagination."), but later efforts are in a more obviously English tradition ("the Elgar/Walton axis, rather than Vanghan Williams pastoral"). He later studied briefly at Birmingham School of Music, and then, from 1960-64, at the Royal Academy of Music with the distinguished composer and teacher John Gardner. He also became acquainted with — and profoundly affected by — the music of Mahler, Shostakovich, Tippett, and the composer to whom he is most indebted, Benjamin Britten. Although this influence is most evident in his vocal music, it has also had a fundamental effect on his whole approach to composition.


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