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Andrew McBirnie combines an active career as a composer with the position of Director of Music at The Oratory School, near Reading. Recently completed works include Three Paraphrases on Hymn Tunes by John Henry Newman (2000-1), premiered by the Duke Quartet at The Oratory School in May 2001, Boyhood's Home (2001), a music theatre work developed at the ENO Studio, and The Moon by Night, for alto flute and piano, premiered by Carla Rees and Charles Wiffen in March 2002. He is currently working on a wind quintet for Harlequin.,
Sonatina for Brass, Ritornel
Sonatina for Brass
Born in Portsmouth, UK, in 1971, Andrew McBirnie graduated from the University of Bristol in 1992 with first class honours in music, and subsequently studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, obtaining London University's MMus degree in 1994, and the RAM's Diploma of Advanced Studies with Merit the following year. In 1997 he completed a PhD in composition at the University of London, with funding from the British Academy.
The chamber opera The Rocking-Horse Winner (1996) was the subject of an academic paper given at an international conference at the University of Nottingham in July 1996, together with a performance of three scenes. In March 2002 a concert featuring four of Andrew's chamber works was held at The Warehouse in London.
Two pieces have been issued on CD: the Sonatina for Brass (1995) was recorded by Onyx Brass on the Intim Musik label (IMCD 058), and the Variation for Joanne Johnson (1997) for organ was included on a CD by Paul Ayres (FAND 102). The Trio I (1988) is shortly to be published by Breitkopf & Hartel.
Andrew spent the summer of 1995 at Tanglewood, USA, as a Fellow in Composition, working with Henri Dutilleux, George Perle, and Oliver Knussen. In 1998 he participated in the Advanced Composition course at Dartington, working with Peter Sculthorpe.
[He is] a very gifted composer who though young is already able to give his pieces dramatic shape and effective large-scale articulation, while not neglecting local detail. Charles Wuorinen
[His] music is striking in its originality and conviction. His work makes use of the heritage of the past, but older shapes and forms are transfigured in often unexpected ways. His use of orchestral colour is bold, and even chamber works are infused with unusual textural nuance. In addition, there is substance in the musical gestures and a strong sense of direction. Louis Karchin
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