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John McCabe

The English musician John McCabe was born on 21 April 1939 at Huyton, Liverpool, and by the time he was eleven, had written thirteen symphonies. He studied in Manchester and Munich and then began his dual career as composer and pianist.

He first became known as a pianist, playing music by Arnold Bax, John Corigliano, Franz Joseph Haydn, Paul Hindemith, Alan Rawsthorne and Anton Webern. He recorded the complete Haydn Piano Sonatas for Decca, between 1974 and 1976. He has been very generous in performing the music of other contemporary composers, and is a particular champion of British music.

His Variations on a Theme of Hartmann of 1964 first put him on the map as a composer, and he has written many concerti, symphonies, ballet scores, brass band works, string quartets and solo instrumental pieces.

Much of his music has been commissioned, notably the orchestra song cycle Notturni ed alba by the Hereford Three Choirs Festival for performance in 1970, Rainforest I by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York, Cloudcatcher Fells by the Arts Council of Great Britain through Boosey and Hawkes Band Festivals, the ballet score Edward II by Stuttgart Ballet, and the two part ballet Arthur by Birmingham Royal Ballet.

McCabe has written BBC Music Guides 'Bartók's Orchestral Music' (1974) and 'Haydn: Piano Sonatas' (1986), the Novello Short Biography of Rachmaninov (1974) and, for Oxford University Press, Alan Rawsthorne - Portrait of a Composer (1999).

He was awarded the CBE for services to music in 1983, and the Distinguished Musician Award from the Incorporated Society of Musicians in 2004.

VISIT JOHN McCABE'S WEBSITE

M&V articles about John McCabe

CD Spotlight. Extremely Well-crafted - British music for oboe and strings, heard by Patric Standford. '... a particularly valuable contribution to the catalogue.'

CD Spotlight. Excellent Performances - Keyboard works by John McCabe, recommended by Bill Newman. '... ideal interpreters ...'

CD Spotlight. Avowedly Definitive - John McCabe plays his own 'Tenebrae', heard by Howard Smith. '... imbued with anger and monumental in both structure and outlook ...'

CD Spotlight. A Hint of Bitters - Music by William Ferris, heard by Howard Smith. 'Well worth investigating.'

CD Spotlight. Rhythmic Freedom - Geoffrey Lancaster plays Haydn, heard by Robert Anderson. '... a very auspicious start.'

Ensemble. Sing ye to the Lord - Roderic Dunnett was at the 2009 Hereford Three Choirs Festival

CD Spotlight. A World of Wonder - Song cycles by John Joubert, recommended by Alice McVeigh. '... a passionate wildness to the piano writing ...'

Ensemble. Especially Dramatic - Premières by Sheriff and McCabe, reviewed by Malcolm Miller

CD Spotlight. Scintillating performance - Tamami Honma plays music by John McCabe, appreciated by Patric Standford

Ensemble. Snowfall in winter - Keith Bramich at a performance by Tamami Honma and friends

Ensemble. Coming of age - Keith Bramich at the twenty-first Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts

Lithuanian Diary - John McCabe concludes the diary of his first-ever trip to Lithuania

Lithuanian Diary - John McCabe continues the diary of his first-ever trip to Lithuania

Lithuanian Diary - John McCabe continues the diary of his first-ever trip to Lithuania

Lithuanian Diary - John McCabe continues the diary of his first ever trip to Lithuania

Lithuanian Diary - In Spring 2003, British composer and pianist John McCabe made his first-ever trip to Lithuania, for concerts and a recording with the St Christopher Chamber Orchestra of Vilnius. Here is a diary of his visit to this delightful country.

Record box. Rich textures - Chamber music by John McCabe, appreciated by Keith Bramich

Second sight. Music with Wilfrid Mellers - The rough and the smooth

Profile. Aaron Rabushka - a portrait by Jennifer Paull

CD Spotlight - Refreshingly free. '... Skærved is dazzlingly good ...' Violin music by Alan Rawsthorne and John McCabe, appreciated by Peter Dale

Ensemble - In memory. Keith Bramich reports on a McCabe première, given as part of Japan 2001

A deeper plane - Roderic Dunnett is impressed by John McCabe's score for 'Le Morte d'Arthur'

Joining threads - Monica McCabe tells the story of the collaboration between David Bintley and John McCabe (concluded from last week)

Joining threads - Monica McCabe tells the story of the collaboration between David Bintley and John McCabe

Music & Vision articles by John McCabe

John McCabe pays tribute to a friend and colleague

John McCabe concludes the diary of his first-ever trip to Lithuania

John McCabe continues the diary of his first-ever trip to Lithuania

John McCabe continues the diary of his first-ever trip to Lithuania

John McCabe continues the diary of his first ever trip to Lithuania

In Spring 2003, British composer and pianist John McCabe made his first-ever trip to Lithuania, for concerts and a recording with the St Christopher Chamber Orchestra of Vilnius. Here is a diary of his visit to this delightful country.

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