RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT (1936 - 2012)
A musician of great versatility, the English composer Richard Rodney Bennett studied in London with Lennox Berkeley and Howard Ferguson, and subsequently with Pierre Boulez. In addition to his very varied work as a composer, he was also known as a pianist, not least in jazz performances. Bennett’s operas date from the 1960s and include the powerful The Mines of Sulphur, with Victory, based on Conrad, the last of the five. His ballet score Isadora was written in 1980. His film music includes scores for Far from the Madding Crowd, Murder on the Orient Express and Four Weddings and a Funeral. He wrote concertos for a number of different instruments, including two piano concertos and concertos for violin, viola, oboe, saxophone, double bass, horn, and bassoon. There is a similarly wide range of scoring in his chamber music, which includes a guitar concerto and a sonatina for the same instrument. He was knighted in 1998 and during his later years was based in New York.