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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
Browse 1-13 of 13 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Tippett: Concertos, Divertimento On Sellinger's Round, Fantasia Concertante / Davis, Barshai
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6784292 Release Date: 02/07/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Michael Tippett
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Robert Masters,  Derek Simpson,  John Ogdon  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tippett,  Rudolf Barshai,  Sir Colin Davis,  Sir Neville Marriner
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  • 2.
    Yehudi Menuhin - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64131 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Lili Boulanger,  Ernest Bloch,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Ferguson Webster,  Derek Simpson,  Robert Masters  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  John Pritchard,  George Enescu,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Alfred Deller Complete Vanguard Recordings - Music Of Henry Purcell / 7-Disc Set
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 194 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  John Blow
    Performer:  George Malcolm,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Granville Jones,  Desmond Dupré  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Alfred Deller,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leonhardt Consort,  Kalmar Chamber Orchestra London,  Deller Consort  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 4.
    British Orchestral Collection / Various
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8502502 Release Date: 11/15/2006   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Bruce Montgomery,  Michael Hurd,  Haydn Wood  ... 
    Performer:  Roderick Williams,  Iain Burnside,  Graham Johnson,  John Metcalfe  ... 
    Conductor:  James Judd,  David Lloyd-Jones,  Michael Tippett,  Adrian Leaper  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,  Duke String Quartet,  Royal Ballet Sinfonia  ... 
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  • 5.
    Tippett: Symphonies No 2 & 4 / Tippett, Bbc So
    Label: Nmc   Catalog: 104 Release Date: 03/29/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett
    Conductor:  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 6.
    Remembering Tippett - Recordings From The 1940s
    Label: Nmc   Catalog: 103 Release Date: 03/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett,  Thomas Tallis
    Performer:  Phyllis Sellick
    Conductor:  Walter Goehr,  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Zorian Quartet,  Morley College Choir
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  • 7.
    Tippett: Child Of Our Time / Robinson, Walker, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557570 Release Date: 02/22/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett
    Performer:  Faye Robinson,  Sarah Walker,  Jon Garrison,  John Cheek
    Conductor:  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Choir
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  • 8.
    Yehudi Menuhin - The Violinist
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85562 Release Date: 11/04/2003   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Carl Nielsen,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Gioconda de Vito,  Robert Masters,  Derek Simpson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir William Walton,  Mogens Wöldike,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Anthony Bernard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Menuhin Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 9.
    Tippett: The Rose Lake, The Vision Of St. Augustine
    Label: Rca Victor Special Imports   Catalog: 51304 Release Date: 07/23/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Meditations For All Seasons - Music For Spring, Summer, Etc
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1737 Release Date: 03/06/2001   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Jacques Offenbach,  Michael Tippett,  Domenico Cimarosa  ... 
    Performer:  Judith Hall,  Elinor Bennett,  John Anderson,  Martin Jones  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Swierczewski,  Michael Tippett,  Simon Wright,  Jaime Laredo  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gulbenkian Foundation Symphony Orchestra Lisbon,  English Northern Philharmonia,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 11.
    Mary Wiegold's Songbook / Wiegold, Muldowney, Et Al
    Label: Nmc   Catalog: 3 Release Date: 02/15/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bayan Northcott,  Colin Matthews,  Michael Nyman,  Philip Wilby  ... 
    Performer:  Mary Wiegold
    Conductor:  Dominic Muldowney,  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Composers Ensemble
    CD: $18.99
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  • 12.
    Tippett Conducts Tippett - Concertos, Ritual Dances, Etc
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1759 Release Date: 05/19/1998   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Michael Tippett
    Performer:  Linda Rhodes,  Michael Bochmann,  Nicolas Jones,  Alexander Martin  ... 
    Conductor:  William Boughton,  George Guest,  Stephen Darlington,  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Christ Church Cathedral Choir  ... 
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  • 13.
    Tippett Conducts Tippett: Triple Concerto, Piano Concerto
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5301 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett
    Performer:  Martino Tirimo,  Alexander Baillie,  Ernst Kovacic,  Gérard Caussé
    Conductor:  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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