Born: 1952, Glasgow, Scotland
"Usually I compose a little bit - four or five bars - and then design the shape of the whole piece from that. Writing the piece becomes filling in the shape. The ingredients of a piece are almost invariably stated at the very beginning - I like putting my cards on the table."
Born into a musical family, Oliver Knussen began composing at the age of six. Equally precocious as a conductor, he made his debut with the London Symphony at the age of 15, substituting for István Kertész in the premiere of his own First Symphony. In the mid-1980s Knussen created two fantasy operas with famed illustrator Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are and Higgelty Piggelty Pop!, which have been widely staged and recorded on video and CD by Deutsche Grammophon. Technical virtuosity, luminous scoring, and immediate expression are hallmarks of Knussen's style.
Horn Concerto (1994), Music for a Puppet Court (1983), others
Barry Tuckwell, London Sinfonietta, Knussen (DG)