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Alun Hoddinott

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Biography

Alun Hoddinott CBE (August 11, 1929 – March 12, 2008), was the first Welsh composer of classical music to receive international recognition. Hoddinott was born in Bargoed, Glamorganshire, Wales. He was educated at University College, Cardiff, and later studied privately with Arthur Benjamin. His first major composition, the Clarinet Concerto, was performed at the Cheltenham Festival of 1954 by Gervase de Peyer with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir John Barbirolli.

This brought Hoddinott a national profile which was followed by a string of commissions by leading orchestras and soloists. These commissions continued up to his death and he was championed by some of the most distinguished singers and instrumentalists of the 20th century. These include singers including Dame Margaret Price, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Sir Thomas Allen, Jill Gomez, Sir Geraint Evans and more recently Jeremy Huw Williams. Instrumentalists have included Ruggiero Ricci, Mstislav Rostropovich, Dennis Brain, Osian Ellis, Nia Harries, John Ogdon to name a few, and more recently euphonium player David Childs and song pianist Andrew Matthews-Owen.

Hoddinott was prolific, writing symphonies, sonatas, and concertos: his style has evolved over a long and distinguished career, from the neo-classicism of the Clarinet Concerto to a brand of serialism which allowed a tonal framework to the structure, combining a penchant for dark textures and brooding harmonies similar to that of another British composer, Alan Rawsthorne, with Bartokian arch-forms and palindromes.

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