Groundbreaking composer Harrison Birtwistle dies at 87

By Associated Press |

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Harrison Birtwistle (Photo: MITO SettembreMusica, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

LONDON (AP) — Harrison Birtwistle, widely recognized as one of Britain’s greatest contemporary composers, has died at 87. Birtwistle’s publisher, Boosey & Hawkes, said he died Monday at his home in Mere, southwest England. No cause of death was given. Birtwistle created daringly experimental music that sometimes tried the patience of listeners. The BBC was inundated with complaints after his piece Panic premiered on live television as part of the Last Night of the Proms concert. The composer was unperturbed. Birtwistle once said “the question of accessibility is not my problem.” His works include The Mask of Orpheus, Exody, Gawain, and The Minotaur. He won awards in the United States, France and the UK, where he was knighted by the queen in 1988.


Jill Lawless and Robert Barr for the Associated Press