Sir Harrison Birtwistle: where it all began

Congratulations to Sir Harrison Birtwistle, who has collected his fourth British Composer Award (here). 

Birtwistle began his studies at the Northern School of Music (NSM) in 1949, before continuing his studies at the Royal Manchester College of Music (RMCM) in 1952.  Extracts from his student register cards for each institution can be seen below.  You can see that he entered the NSM to study Clarinet and Piano, and the RMCM to focus on the Clarinet. 

Extract from Birtwistle's Northern School of Music registration card, 1949 (ref. NSM/5/1)

Extract from the Royal Manchester College of Music student register 1952 (ref. RMCM/E/2/3)

The next Archives item relating to Birtwistle is an extract from an early composition, 'Refrains and Choruses for 5 Instruments', dated 31 December 1957. 

Refrains and Choruses for 5 Instruments, Harrison Birtwistle

'Refrains and Choruses for 5 Instruments', Harrison Birtwistle (ref. JO/X/1)

This item can be found in the John Ogdon collection.  Ogdon was a contemporary of Birtwistle's and they both formed part of a group known as the Manchester New Music Group (the other members being Alexander Goehr and Peter Maxwell Davies).  In fact, the above piece was dedicated to one of the Group's members, Alexander Goehr. 

4 December 2012