An English composer born January 2, 1905 in London, who died January 8, 1998 in London.
A pianist by training, Michael Tippett studied at the Royal College of Music in London (1923-1928), where he was the pupil of, notably, Charles Wood and C.H. Kitson for composition. Dissatisfied with his earliest works, he destroyed them and then took advanced classes in counterpoint with R.O. Morris, as well as in fugue and orchestration.
Michael Tippett’s style was nurtured by the past: contrapuntal energy (Fantasia concertante on a theme of Corelli, 1953), slow, lyrical movements, rich orchestral textures (The Midsummer Marriage, 1947) and careful melodic writing. He drew inspiration notably from the music of Dowland, Monteverdi, Purcell (Concerto for double string orchestra, 1939), Bach, Handel, Beethoven (First String Quartet, 1935), Berlioz, Debussy, Bartok (Third String Quartet, 1946), but also from jazz and American blues (Symphony no 3, 1970; The Knot Garden, 1966; The Ice Break, 1973) and even the Javanese gamelan (Triple Concerto, 1978).
A composer of commitment, sensitive to world events and gifted with an open mind as regards knowledge of literature and philosophy, Michael Tippett also wrote his own librettos, in which he unflinchingly denounced the injustices and taboos of his time (A Child of our Time, 1939; King Priam, 1958). He was knighted in 1966 by Queen Elisabeth II.