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Oliver Knussen

conductor
1952
2018
Betty Freeman

Oliver Knussen has probably contributed more to the vitality of the British contemporary music scene (as composer, conductor and eminence grise) than any other figure. He has a wide and varied output, from chamber music works to three symphonies and two operas, Where the Wild Things Are and Higglety Pigglety Pop! – the result of a collaboration with the children’s author Maurice Sendak. In addition there are two recent concertos (for horn and violin) which have been taken up by soloists and orchestras worldwide. His conducting career began at the age of 16 with the London Symphony Orchestra when he conducted his First Symphony.

Knussen was in international demand as an illuminating interpretation of twentieth century music. He was made a CBE in 1994 and was Conductor Laureate of the London Sinfonietta.