Howard Skempton (b. 1947) — We who with songs (1995) for organ
English composer Howard Skempton (b. 1947) was born in Cheshire and began composing at a young age. He was a protégé of Cornelius Cardew with whom he studied privately and at Morley College. In 1969, Skempton was one of the co-founders (with Cardew and Michael Parsons) of the Scratch Orchestra, a landmark ensemble in the history of English experimental music. In addition to his active compositional output, Skempton has worked as a music editor and a performer (on accordion and piano). Known for his economy of means and essentialist compositional style, Skempton’s language has come to encompass a variety of genres and scopes: from miniatures to large-scale ensemble works. He has described his lifelong output of solo piano pieces (beginning in 1967) as forming the “central nervous system” of his catalog. Commissions and projects in the decades that followed led to explorations of other genres, including orchestral works and a great deal of chamber and choral music. His orchestral work “Lento” (1990) won wide acclaim and brought his music to significant mainstream attention. In 2005, Skempton joined the composition faculty of the Birmingham Conservatoire.
Published by Oxford University Press