Reference Entry

Nyman, Michael (opera)

Annette Morreau

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print December 1992 |
Published online January 2002 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.O903498

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(Laurence )

(b London, March 23, 1944). English composer. While at the RAM (1961–5) he studied keyboard and composition (with Alan Bush), and at King’s College, London (1964–7), he read musicology with Thurston Dart. As a writer and music critic (1968–78) he was the first to apply the word ‘minimalism’ in musical description (to a composition by Cornelius Cardew) and wrote the seminal book Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond (1974) and the libretto to Birtwistle’s ‘dramatic pastoral’ Down by the Greenwood Side (1968–9).

As a composer Nyman draws on a vast bank of musical reference points. Keen to break down the barrier between popular culture and ‘serious’ composition, he writes, in general, for his own amplified ensemble and uses singers from various vocal traditions. He is widely known for his film music for the British director Peter Greenaway, notably The Draughtsman’s Contract...

Reference Entry.  414 words. 

Subjects: Opera

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