Michael Berkeley

Biography

Born: May 29, 1948; London, England  
A contemporary composer whose interests are wide-ranging, Michael Berkeley has gained a reputation for works that appeal to both emotion and intellect. The eldest son of composer Lennox Berkeley, he has moved from a comfortably tonal style in his earliest works to an edgier, more compact idiom. In 1993 his opera Ba Ba Black Sheep was a resounding critical and popular success at the Cheltenham Festival. Benefiting from a position as Read more composer-in-association with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, he composed works that resonated with a sizeable audience. As a chorister of Westminster Cathedral, Berkeley received a solid grounding in music. Further lessons from Benjamin Britten, his godfather, confirmed his interest in the field, though he did not initially concentrate on composition while attending the Royal Academy of Music. Only later, when studying with Richard Rodney Bennett, did he decide to devote himself to the writing of music.

With early compositions such as Meditations (1975), the Oboe Concerto (1977), and the Fantasia Concertante and String Trio (1978), a certain conventionality was evident. Upon introduction of his 1983 oratorio Or Shall We Die?, a decided musical personality had formed. Thereafter, Berkeley's works had a distinctive quality, taut, clear-minded, and emotionally compelling, comprehensive yet well distilled. Critical attention given two works for strings, Gethsemani Fragment and Coronach, led to commissions from such groups as the Vanbrugh String Quartet (Magnetic Fields) and the Nash Ensemble (Winter Fragments).

Berkeley's The Secret Garden was given its first performance by Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra in 1998, meeting with enormous enthusiasm from the audience. In 2000, a second opera, Jane Eyre, was premiered at the Cheltenham Festival by the Music Theatre Wales company; it was subsequently toured in Britain. In 2003, performances of Berkeley's music were heard in New York (the premiere of his Chamber Symphony) and Sidney, Australia (Entertaining Master Punch and Odd Man Out). Other premieres included Abstract Mirror, written for the Chilingirian String Quartet; Gethsemane -- A Sacred Scena for ensemble with tenor soloist; and Tristessa, a work written through his association with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Several of Berkeley's works have been recorded on the Chandos label. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 25 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Into The Ravine - Works For String Quartet & Oboe Quintet / Daniel, Carducci Quartet
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 350 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Berkeley,  John McCabe,  Adrian Williams
    Performer:  Nicholas Daniel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Carducci String Quartet
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  • 2.
    The English Oboe: Rediscovered
    Label: Champs Hill Records   Catalog: 51 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edward Longstaff,  Thomas Attwood Walmisley,  John Casken,  Michael Berkeley  ... 
    Performer:  James Turnbull,  Libby Burgess,  Dan Shilladay,  Matthew Featherstone
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  • 3.
    Cor! Alison Teale Plays Cor Anglais
    Label: Oboe Classics   Catalog: 2023 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Robert Valentine,  Olivier Messiaen,  Michael Berkeley  ... 
    Performer:  Elizabeth Burley
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  • 4.
    Tippett: Corelli Fantasia, Berkeley: Serenade For Strings / Boughton, English String Orchestra
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7082 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett,  Lennox Berkeley,  Michael Berkeley
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Fierce Tears
    Label: Quartz Records   Catalog: 2081 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tansy Davies,  John Woolrich,  Michael Berkeley,  James MacMillan  ... 
    Performer:  James Turnbull,  Claire Jones,  Huw Watkins
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  • 6.
    Michael Berkeley: For You / Rafferty, Music Theatre Wales
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 208 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Michael Berkeley
    Performer:  Christopher Lemmings,  Rachel Nicholls,  Helen Williams,  Allison Cook  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Rafferty
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Music Theatre Wales
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  • 7.
    Songs Of Innocence - Britten, Barber, Ives, Handel, Warlock, Etc / Swait, Bowman, Plant
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 128 Release Date: 07/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Peter Warlock,  William Boyce,  Michael Flanders  ... 
    Performer:  James Bowman,  Andrew Swait,  Andrew Plant,  Andrew Plant
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  • 8.
    Hodie Gloriosa
    Label: Brass Classics   Catalog: 13007 Release Date: 03/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edward Chance,  Cecilia McDowall,  Michael Berkeley,  Harrison Birtwistle  ... 
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  • 9.
    Label: Steven Seidenman   Catalog: 5637485950 Release Date: 10/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  José Luis Merlin,  Luigi Legnani,  Luis de Milan,  Matteo Carcassi  ... 
    Performer:  Steven Seidenman
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  • 10.
    Lennox & Michael Berkeley Vol 6 / Hickox, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10408 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lennox Berkeley,  Michael Berkeley
    Performer:  Howard Shelley,  Kathryn Stott
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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  • 11.
    Oboe Alone - Wagner, Berio, Et Al / Nicholas Daniel
    Label: Leman Classics   Catalog: 28 Release Date: 07/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Luciano Berio,  Heinz Holliger,  Paul Reade  ... 
    Performer:  Nicholas Daniel
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  • 12.
    Lenox & Michael Berkeley / Chilingirian Quartet
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10364 Release Date: 04/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lennox Berkeley,  Michael Berkeley
    Performer:  Philip De Groote,  Susie Mészáros,  Charles Sewart,  Levon Chilingirian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chilingirian String Quartet
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  • 13.
    Berkeley Edition Vol 5 - Lennox And Michael Berkeley
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10265 Release Date: 01/25/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lennox Berkeley,  Michael Berkeley
    Performer:  Howard Shelley,  Celia Craig,  Steven Burnard,  Catherine Wyn-Rogers
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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  • 14.
    Piano Works By Lennox & Michael Berkeley / Fingerhut
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10247 Release Date: 10/19/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lennox Berkeley,  Michael Berkeley
    Performer:  Margaret Fingerhut
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  • 15.
    Berkeley: Baa Baa Black Sheep - A Jungle Tale / Daniel
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10186 Release Date: 03/23/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Michael Berkeley
    Performer:  William Dazeley,  Ann [Mezzo Soprano] Taylor,  George Mosley,  Henry Newman  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Daniel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Northern Philharmonia,  Opera North Chorus
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  • 16.
    Berkeley Edition Vol 4 / Silverthorne, Trotter, Hickox
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10167 Release Date: 02/24/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lennox Berkeley,  Michael Berkeley
    Performer:  Paul Silverthorne,  Thomas Trotter
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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  • 17.
    PJBE Finale / Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8490 Release Date: 02/03/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Berkeley,  Einojuhani Rautavaara,  André Previn,  Witold Lutoslawski  ... 
    Conductor:  Elgar Howarth,  Lionel Friend
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 18.
    Anglosax: British & American Music For Saxophone
    Label: Clarinet Classics   Catalog: 10046 Release Date: 11/01/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Rodney Rogers,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Michael Berkeley,  Evan K. Chambers  ... 
    Performer:  Kyle Horch,  Pamela Lidiard,  Fenella Barton
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  • 19.
    The Berkeley Edition Vol 3 - Lennox And Michael Berkeley
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10080 Release Date: 07/22/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Berkeley,  Lennox Berkeley
    Performer:  Alban Gerhardt
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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  • 20.
    Kantorow & Gifford At Calke Abbey
    Label: National Trust   Catalog: 11 Release Date: 04/22/2003  
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Michael Berkeley,  Anton Diabelli,  Mauro Giuliani  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Jacques Kantorow,  Anthea Gifford
    CD: $12.99
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  • 21.
    Even Such Is Time - Berkeley, Chilcot, Et Al / Voces Sacrae
    Label: Metier   Catalog: 92035 Release Date: 01/28/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Berkeley,  Gabriel Jackson,  Magnus Williamson,  Robert Chilcott
    Conductor:  Judy Martin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voces Sacrae
    CD: $14.99
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  • 22.
    The Berkeley Edition Vol 2 - Lennox And Michael Berkeley
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10022 Release Date: 01/21/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Berkeley,  Lennox Berkeley
    Performer:  Nicholas Daniel
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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  • 23.
    Berkeley: Jane Eyre / Rafferty, Music Theatre Wales Ensemble
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9983 Release Date: 10/22/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Berkeley
    Performer:  Emily Bauer-Jones,  Fflur Wyn,  Beverly Mills,  Natasha Marsh  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Rafferty
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Music Theatre Wales
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  • 24.
    The Berkeley Edition Vol 1 - Lennox And Michael Berkeley
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9981 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Berkeley,  Lennox Berkeley
    Performer:  David Pyatt
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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  • 25.
    20th-century Music From The British Isles / Romano, Hicks
    Label: Metier   Catalog: 92013 Release Date: 02/14/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dame Elizabeth Maconchy,  Anthony Powers,  Piers Hellawell,  Harrison Birtwistle  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Hicks,  Kate Romano
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