(March 17, 1946 - living) U.K.
Composer and pianist
Michael Finnissy was born in Tulse Hill, London. He was a Foundation Scholar at the Royal College of Music, London, where he studied composition with Bernard Stevens and Humphrey Searle, and piano with Edwin Benbow and Ian Lake. Afterwards, he studied in Italy with Roman Vlad. He is a prolific composer and his curiosity in a wide range of music, especially folk, combines with a fascination in mathematical structures.
Finnissy created the music department of the London School of Contemporary Dance, and has been associated as composer with many British dance companies including London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Ballet Rambert, Strider, and Second Stride. He has also been musician in residence to the Victorian College of the Arts, the City of Caulfield in Australia, and the East London Late Starters Orchestra.
Finnissy has been featured composer at the Bath, Huddersfield, and Almeida festivals, and his works are widely performed and broadcast worldwide. He is guest lecturer at many colleges and universities. He continues to teach at the Royal Academy of Music in London and has recently been appointed to the Chair in Composition at the University of Southampton.
In 1990 Finnissy was appointed President of the International Society of Contemporary Music. He was re-elected in 1993, and in 1998 was made an honorary member of the ISCM. More recently he has been appointed Senior Fellow of the KBC-chair in New Music at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. The appointment lasts two years and includes a commission for a work for chamber orchestra for the Beethoven Academie.
1996, Finnissy's fiftieth birthday year, saw recitals of the complete piano music by Ian Pace, recordings of orchestral and chamber works on NMC and the publication by Ashgate of a Unknown Ground - a detailed book about Finnissy's music. In February 1999 a festival at Harvard University, Boston, was devoted to his music, and several world premières are took place at the 1999 Music Factory Festival in Bergen, Norway.
Finnissy's epic piano cycle, The History of Photography in Sound, the product of several years' work and lasting over five hours, received its complete première in January 2001.
In 2003, Selected Movements of Great Masters received its US premiere, while Ensemble Exposé will give the world premiere of Greatest hits of all time at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. In 2004 the London Sinfonietta performed In Stiller Nacht at the Festival Aspects des Musiques d'Aujourd'hui in Caen, France.