Patrons:
Judith Weir CBE, Master of the Queen's Music
David Matthews

Peter Openshaw

I was born in 1948 and have been composing since early childhood. In fact I had more success as a boy composer than for most of my adult life! From 1957 to 1962 I belonged to the Children’s Opera Group (London) for whom I composed three stage works, which they performed with some success. The first of these, Susan’s Birthday, won a “Young Composers” prize adjudicated by Benjamin Britten, which provided my 15 minutes of fame rather early in life. The second, Mr Postwhistle, was performed five times and even got me a broadcast interview on Norwegian radio. Since then, things have been distinctly quieter.

I read Music at Oxford University, graduating in 1970 – my tutors included Bernard Rose and Egon Wellesz. I engaged in postgraduate research but never completed my Doctorate. In those years I had a number of pieces performed by the Contemporary Music Club “my performers including some now famous names” Colin Lawson, Nigel Osborne and Gregory Rose. My vocal work Encounter Games (1973) was performed in the Wigmore Hall with Gregory’s vocal group Singcircle. And in 1975 I got a professional performance of a violin and piano piece, Transformations through a competition organised by the Richmond-upon-Thames Arts Council.

Sample works

Wind Quartet (1968)
3 movements, duration 14′. 3rd movement revised 2017 as Isorhythmic Variations, duration 5’*

Meditations I, II and III
for piano (1970-1)

Transformations (Raga Puriya Dhanashri)
for violin and piano (1974), duration 10′

String Quartet in one movement (1977)
duration 10′

Festive Overture
for orchestra (2001, revised 2016), duration 7′

String Quintet (2004)
duration 16’*

Three Wordsworth Songs (2010)

Isorhythmic Variations
for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn

The Worm Descending
for bass clarinet and piano (2011) duration 6’*

Fantasia
for violin, viola and piano (2015), duration 4’*

A Wreath of White Poppies (six songs) (2016)
duration 15′

Pendant for string quartet (2016)
duration 6’*

(* available on Soundcloud)