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York Bowen


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Edwin York Bowen (February 22, 1884 – November 11, 1961) was an English composer and pianist. Bowen’s musical career spanned more than fifty years during which time he wrote over 160 works. As well as being a pianist and composer, Bowen was a talented conductor, organist, violinist and horn player. Despite achieving considerable success during his lifetime, many of the composer’s works remained unpublished and unperformed until after his death in 1961. Bowen’s compositional style is widely considered as ‘Romantic’ and his works are often characterized by their individuality and rich harmonic language.

Born in Crouch Hill, London, Bowen’s father was the owner of the renowned Whiskey distillers Bowen and Mckechnie. The youngest of three sons, Bowen began piano and harmony lessons with his mother at an early age. His talent was recognised almost immediately and he soon began his musical education at the North Metropolitan College of Music. He subsequently went on to study at the Blackheath Conservatoire with Alfred Izard.

In 1898, at the age of fourteen, Bowen gained an Erard scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. He studied there until 1905, learning composition with Frederick Corder and piano with Tobias Matthay. Whilst studying at the Royal Academy of Music Bowen won numerous prizes including the Worshipful Company of Musicians Medal. In 1907 Bowen was awarded a fellowship to the Royal Academy of Music and two years later was appointed as professor.

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  • relax2music

    This Man's music should be played much, much, more . York Bowen - Sonata for Flute & Piano, Op. 120 (1949)

    25 Sep 10:40pm Reply
  • helloimjoshua

    It's all about that viola concerto

    30 Jul 2013 Reply
  • relax2music

    And Not Only a Fine Composer - York Bowen plays Moscheles Etude, op.70 no.5 -

    17 Feb 2013 Reply
  • Alexface21

    The viola concerto is fantastic. So glad to have stumbled across him.

    14 Jul 2011 Reply
  • KraeheK

    Update: he's actually an excellent composer. I have since this heard a cello concerto, violin sonata, various other chamber works. Every time I listen to a piece I expect a richness of melody, texture and structure - a deluxe kind of mastery of the late Romantic medium, and I am never disappointed. Even when the music sounds a bit too Rachmaninoff inspired, it's still wonderful.

    29 May 2011 Reply
  • KraeheK

    His solo piano works are better than expected - a possibility of real value in them...

    30 Dec 2008 Reply
  • phyte

    Any links to works? This guy has no results on shareminer or anything. If someone could upload any recordings at all I'd be very grateful (PM if you can!)

    13 Dec 2008 Reply
  • Vasilievich

    Listen to his 1st piano concerto, and his 2nd symphony !

    13 Jun 2008 Reply

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