Michael Tippett

Biography

Born: January 2, 1905; England   Died: January 8, 1998; England  
A composer who came to music relatively late in life, Sir Michael Tippett has come to be regarded as one of the most original and important British composers of the twentieth century. Tippett brought a highly individual interpretation to twentieth century neo-Classicism, writing in all the principal genres. His compositions are characterized by a strong rhythmic vitality and a complexity of the basically tonal harmonic language, and were a Read more vehicle for the articulation of his personal views of philosophical, social, and personal issues.

Tippett spent his childhood in Wetherden, a small village in Suffolk where his parents moved shortly after he was born. At the age of 13, he won a scholarship to Fettes College in Edinburgh. However, he disliked Fettes, and in 1920 transferred to Stamford Grammar School in Lincolnshire. Aside from piano lessons, Tippett received no musical training in his childhood. Despite this, after leaving Stamford, he expressed an interest in becoming a composer. At first, he decided to train as a professional pianist, staying on at Stamford so that he could continue to study with Frances Tinkler. However, in the summer of 1923 he left to begin study at London's Royal College of Music. While at the RCM, he studied composition with Charles Wood and C.H. Kitson, as well as piano with Aubin Raymar and conducting with Sargent and Boult.

When he left the RCM in 1928, Tippett settled in Oxted, Surrey. In 1929, he asked to teach French part-time at the local preparatory school. Thus began a series of occupations, which gave him money to live on, as well as some freedom to compose. In 1930, he gave a concert of his own works, which he felt highlighted the relative immaturity of his technique. With this in mind, Tippett began to study counterpoint and free composition with R.O. Morris. Soon after completing his lessons with Morris, in July 1932, Tippett was asked to run the music at an annual work camp in north Yorkshire. Musically, these experiences were positive; however, for Tippett, a political leftist, the miserable conditions encountered at the work-camps inspired an even more radical commitment. Eventually, Tippett came to espouse a strictly pacifist viewpoint. He centered his activities for the unemployed in London at Morley College, where in 1933 he was asked to conduct what later became the South London Orchestra, a group formed specifically to give unemployed musicians the opportunity to continue playing. A year later he also began conducting two choirs which were run by the Royal Arsenal Cooperative Society. In the summer of 1940 the South London Orchestra was disbanded. In October, after Morley College was almost destroyed in an air raid and the director of music was evacuated from London, Tippett was asked to become director of music. In November 1940, Tippett joined the Peace Pledge Union. After he received his call-up papers he registered as a conscientious objector. His case was heard in 1942, and he was ordered to non-combatant military duties. Tippett refused to comply, believing that he could best serve his country as a musician. He was sentenced to three months imprisonment, but qualified for a one-third remission.

In 1951 Tippett resigned from Morley College. Aside from working as a broadcaster at the BBC, he devoted himself entirely to composition. Tippett was knighted in 1966, and in 1979 he was made a Companion of Honour. He died peacefully at home on January 8, 1998. Read less
Tippett: King Priam / Atherton, London Sinfonietta
Release Date: 11/14/1995   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9406   Number of Discs: 2
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Tippett: The Ice Break / Atherton, Harper, Sylvan
Release Date: 05/22/2009   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 91448   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 126 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Shakespeare Songs / Bostridge, Pappano
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 557549 Release Date: 09/23/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gerald Finzi,  William Byrd,  Thomas Morley,  John Wilson  ... 
    Performer:  Antonio Pappano,  Ian [Tenor Vocals] Bostridge,  Elizabeth Kenny,  Lawrence Power  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 2.
    Airs, Blues & Dances / Turnbull, Burgess, Ensemble Perpetuo
    Label: Champs Hill Records   Catalog: 99 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett,  Richard R. Bennett,  Jonathan Dove,  Anthony Powers  ... 
    Performer:  Libby Burgess,  James Turnbull
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Perpetuo
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    Evensong Live 2016 / Cleobury, Choir of King's College
    Label: King's College Choir   Catalog: 0015 Release Date: 07/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Hubert Parry,  Charles Villiers Stanford,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Performer:  Tom Hopkins,  Tom Etheridge,  Tom Pickard,  Benjamin Sheen  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Tom Etheridge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  King's Voices
    CD: $14.99
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  • 4.
    The Menuhin Century: Live Performances & Festival Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555053 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Niccolň Paganini,  Pablo de Sarasate  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Eugene Istomin,  Pablo Casals,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski  ... 
    Conductor:  Georg Schnéevoigt,  Gary Bertini,  Edmond de Stoutz,  István Kertész  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Friends of Music Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Zurich Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $26.99
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  • 5.
    The Menuhin Century: Luxury Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555050 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 91
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Hubert Giesen,  Artur Balsam,  Marcel Gazelle  ... 
    Conductor:  Landon Ronald,  Pierre Monteux,  Jean Fournet,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $250.99
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  • 6.
    On an Overgrown Path / Borg
    Label: Odradek   Catalog: 328 Release Date: 04/15/2016  
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  Michael Tippett,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
    Performer:  Scott Borg
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Tippett: String Quartets / Heath Quartet
    Label: Wigmore Hall Live   Catalog: 80 Release Date: 03/04/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Heath Quartet
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  • 8.
    Tippett: King Priam / Macann, Norrington [Blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109179 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett
    Performer:  Rodney Macann,  Howard Haskin,  Sarah Walker,  Anne Mason
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kent Opera Chorus,  Kent Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $32.49
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  • 9.
    Poetry in Music: Britten, Howells, Ramsey, Rubbra, Tippett, Tomkins
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16134 Release Date: 10/02/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Henry Harris,  Michael Tippett,  Thomas Weelkes,  James MacMillan  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
    CD: $18.99
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  • 10.
    Tippett: A Child of Our Time
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10869 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett
    Performer:  Cynthia Haymon,  Willard White,  Cynthia Clarey,  Damon Evans
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
    CD: $11.99
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  • 11.
    English Music For Strings
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1291 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Benjamin Britten,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Michael Tippett
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 12.
    The Rias Amadeus Quartet Recordings, Vol. 4: Modernism
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21429 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Michael Tippett,  Henry Purcell,  Mátyás Seiber  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 13.
    Joseph Summer's Shakespeare Concerts Series - Full Fathom Five
    Label: Navona   Catalog: 5996 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Summer,  Michael Tippett,  Charles Ives,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Neal [Tenor Vocal] Ferreira,  Victor Cayres,  Emily [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Jaworski,  Justin Vickers  ... 
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  • 14.
    Canticles From St. Paul's Cathedral, London
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 68058 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Archer,  Thomas Attwood Walmisley,  Michael Tippett,  Alan Gray  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Johnson
    Conductor:  Andrew Carwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Choir
    CD: $18.99
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  • 15.
    100 Great Symphonies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Sammartini,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Christian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Kevin Mallon,  Christopher Hogwood,  Thomas Füri,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Camerata Bern  ... 
    CD: $245.99
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  • 16.
    The Argo Years / Marriner, Academy of St Martin in the Fields
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002081902 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli  ... 
    Performer:  Gwynne Howell,  Philip Langridge,  Anna Reynolds,  Elly Ameling  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 17.
    Remembering Alfred Deller / Blaze, Bowman, Turner, Robinson
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25114 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett,  William Williams,  George Frideric Handel,  John Blow  ... 
    Performer:  John Turner,  Laura Robinson,  James Bowman,  Robin Blaze  ... 
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  • 18.
    New Music Collections, Vol. 4: Piano
    Label: Nmc   Catalog: 207 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Huw Watkins,  Simon Holt,  Julian Anderson,  Sadie Harrison  ... 
    Performer:  Huw Watkins,  Rolf Hind,  Thalia Myers,  Nicky Losseff  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 19.
    Sir Colin Davis - Anthology
    Label: Lso Live   Catalog: 766 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Antonín Dvorák,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Ben Heppner,  Michelle DeYoung,  Petra Lang,  Sara Mingardo  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 20.
    Celebration Of The Spirit [united Classics]
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2013021 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  John Rutter,  Benjamin Britten,  Michael Tippett
    Performer:  Rachel Masters,  Jonathan Brown
    Conductor:  Timothy Brown
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wallace Collection (Brass Ensemble)
    CD: $12.99
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  • 21.
    Britten the Performer - Complete Decca Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001922102 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 27
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Adrian Thompson,  John Tobin,  Jenny Hill,  Robert Tear  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  Wandsworth School Choir  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 22.
    English Choral Music Of The Twentieth Century
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1323 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Michael Tippett,  Sir William Walton,  William Henry Harris  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Farr
    Conductor:  Stephen Darlington
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  • 23.
    English String Masterpieces
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1138 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett,  Benjamin Britten,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Conductor:  Charles Groves
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 24.
    Colin Davis: The Philips Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001850302 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich,  Claudio Arrau,  Jessye Norman,  Jon Vickers  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $65.99
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  • 25.
    An Immortal Legacy / Christophers, The Sixteen
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16111 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Tallis,  Orlando Gibbons,  William Byrd,  James MacMillan  ... 
    Performer:  Robert [Bass-Baritone Vocal] Evans,  Carys Lane,  Neil MacKenzie,  Ian Partridge
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    CD: $18.99
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