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Michael Nyman
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Arts & Culture Series: Announcements

Celebrated composer Michael Nyman speaks at City, University of London

Nyman's talk was titled "Music which has influenced me, but which I have never heard"


Michael Nyman CBE, one of Britain’s most celebrated composers, has delivered the inaugural lecture in a special new series at City, University of London.

The Department of Music welcomed Nyman to the university on Tuesday 29th May to deliver its first Distinguished Lecture in Music.

During the talk - which was free and open to the public - Nyman discussed his diverse career and musical influences and borrowings.

He focused in particular on his allusions to previous music which he has only seen on the page, never heard.

A champion of new music

City’s Head of Performance Ian Pace, who chaired the talk, said: “It was a great privilege to be able to welcome Michael Nyman for this talk.

“Many will know of his scores for films like The Draughtsman’s Contract, The Piano or Wonderland, but he is equally a composer of a great many autonomous and sometimes abstract works, including symphonies, string quartets, song cycles, and so on. Nyman was also a musicologist – and an ethnomusicologist – at the beginning of his career, working on early baroque music and collecting Romanian folk song."

Ian Pace added: “Furthermore, he championed new music as a critic for The Listener, while his 1974 book Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond, was profoundly influential for many.

"For all of these reasons, his diverse work is especially relevant to a department like ours. Nyman’s work, drawing upon pre-existing musics, is far from simply nostalgic or idly eclectic, but represents a very clearly defined and individual sensibility.”

The lecture falls within City’s annual three-week festival of music, City Summer Sounds, featuring free events by our students alongside acclaimed international professionals.

The Heart Asks Pleasure First, by Michael Nyman

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