Alun HoddinottComposer. Born 11 August 1929. Died 12 March 2008
Alun Hoddinott Biography (BBC)
Born in Bargoed, Glamorgan on 11 August 1929, Alun Hoddinott began his musical career as a violinist and in 1946 became a founder member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, in which he played the viola. He then won a composition scholarship from Gowerton Grammar School to Cardiff University and his first acknowledged compositions were performed and broadcast by the BBC when he was still an undergraduate.
After private lessons in London with Arthur Benjamin he came to international prominence in 1954 when his Clarinet Concerto of 1949 was given its public premiere at the Cheltenham Festival by Gervase de Peyer and the Halle under Barbirolli and repeated at the 1956 Proms with the BBC Symphony and Malcolm Sargent.
A regular flow of commissions followed from the major British festivals and orchestras in which Hoddinott went on to develop and refine an increasingly personal and vividly coloured musical language.
After teaching at the Welsh College of Music & Drama from 1951 he returned to Cardiff University in 1959 as a lecturer and in 1967 became Professor of Music there, a post held until 1987. In 1967 he also founded the Cardiff Festival of 20th Century Music with his friend, the pianist John Ogdon.
Hoddinott spearheaded the sense of creative renewal in postwar Welsh music and completely transformed its cultural climate. He was pivotal in supporting the growth of the BBC Welsh Orchestra to full symphonic status and wrote the first major full-length commission for Welsh National Opera in 1974. Five further operas included the popular Hans Christian Andersen children's tale What the Old Man Does is Always Right, the Hardy-based The Trumpet-Major and finally in 1999 Tower, a documentary-opera following the heroic battle to save the last working coal-mine in South Wales.
As prolific as he was professional, Hoddinott's vast catalogue includes some 300 individual compositions in every conceivable genre. Among the most significant are 10 symphonies -- the Ninth of which, A Vision of Eternity (1994), was written for the soprano Gwyneth Jones - 13 piano sonatas, five string quartets and six violin sonatas.
His 20 concertos for nearly every instrument imaginable (including organ, euphonium and timpani) feature three for piano, two for clarinet and a Triple Concerto for piano trio. The Heaventree of Stars and Mistral (both for violin) and Noctis Equi (composed for Mstislav Rostropovich in 1989) are typical in capturing Hoddinott's dark nocturnal introspection punctuated by dazzling shafts of percussive light. Before he died, following a short illness, on 11 March 2008, he was told that the new home of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at the Wales Millennium Centre was to be named BBC Hoddinott Hall in recognition of his contribution to the musical life of Wales. His last work, Taliesin, was premiered by BBC NOW at the 2009 Swansea Festival.
Profile © Geraint Lewis
Alun Hoddinott Biography (Wikipedia)
Alun Hoddinott CBE (11 August 1929 – 11 March 2008) was a Welsh composer of classical music, one of the first to receive international recognition.
Alun Hoddinott Tracks