Alun Hoddinott (1929 - 2008)
Alun Hoddinott was born in Bargoed, Glamorganshire, in 1929. His compositional talents developed early, and he won a university scholarship at the age of sixteen. After graduating from University College, Cardiff, he studied for some years with the Australian composer and pianist, Arthur Benjamin. He was awarded the Walford Davies prize for composition when he was twenty-four, and achieved his first national success a year later when his Clarinet Concerto was given its first performance at the Cheltenham Festival by Gervase de Peyer and the Hallé Orchestra, under Sir John Barbirolli.
In 1951 he was appointed lecturer in music at the Welsh College of Music and Drama; he later became lecturer at University College, Cardiff and was made Professor and Head of Department there in 1967. Among his many awards are the John Edwards Memorial Award, the Arnold Bax Medal for composers, the Hopkins Medal of the New York St David's Society and the CBE. He is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and the Welsh Music Guild.
Hoddinott has achieved a mastery of composition which embraces almost every musical medium. His strong creative urge, stimulated by a tremendous variety of eminent performers, is reflected in a substantial body of works. Essentially chromatic, his music often shows a dark Celtic intensity, manifested in his nocturnal slow movements.
Alun Hoddinott's works have been broadcast, performed and recorded worldwide and his music has been released on CD by most major labels, including Chandos, Nimbus, Clarinet Classics, Decca, Sain and Warner Classics.
Amongst his prodigious list of compositions there feature ten symphonies, three piano concertos, six operas (including Tower, the story of the successful battle to keep open the last remaining deep coal mine in Wales), thirteen piano sonatas and numerous choral, vocal and instrumental works.
Alun Hoddinott died, after a long illness, on March 11th 2008, aged 78.