Composing a Life

Alexander Goehr
Alexander ('Sandy') Goehr is a leading British composer and teacher. Born into a Jewish musical family in Berlin in 1932, he arrived in England in 1933 with his father, Walter, a composer, conductor, and pupil of Arnold Schoenberg; and his mother Laelia, a trained pianist from Kyiv. Raised in Amersham, he attended Richard Hall's classes at the Royal Manchester College of Music. There he formed the 'Manchester School' – a group of young composers and performers including Peter Maxwell Davies, Harrison Birtwistle, and John Ogdon. He was introduced to Olivier Messiaen when his father conducted the first British performance of Turangalîla-Symphonie in 1953, and he later studied with Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod in Paris.

In the late 1950s and early '60s Goehr became known as a radical exponent of serial music. Since then, he has composed more than one hundred major works, including operas, orchestral and chamber pieces, and music for film, television, dance and theatre. He is Emeritus Professor of Music at Cambridge University and one of Europe's most important music educators. He has written and lectured extensively and his music is performed all over the world.

Jack Van Zandt (b. 1954), an American composer and Goehr's former pupil and assistant, has co-written this first comprehensive account of the life, creative foundations, and teachings of this great composer.

Subjects: Literature, Poetry

Want a taster of Composing a Life’s content? Sign up here to New Issue Notifications to receive email alerts each time a new issue is published, alongside its editorial highlights.

This title is available in the following collections: Carcanet Collection  

  • First Issue: Composing a Life
  • Latest Issue: Composing a Life
  • Issue Count: 1
  • Published: One-off