Peter Owen b 1951 Birkenhead, Merseyside
No music in the family, a bit of singing and recorder playing in primacy school (plus loads and loads of country dancing for reasons unclear). After two years music was optional at secondary school though worth doing as it got you out of games. By the early 60s I’d discovered Radio 3 which, thanks to William Glock, was doing lots of 20 th century stuff and I was hooked. Unfortunately the school’s music master was a product of the English cathedral tradition, spent an unhealthy amount of time in the organ loft, thought the likes of Holst pushed at the boundaries and certainly didn’t share my enthusiam for Schoenberg, Stravinsky et al.
Moved to London in 71 which, with Boulez at the BBCSO and the likes of Berio, Stockhausen, Ligeti, Lutosławski, Messiaen and Birtwitsle introducing/conducting concerts of their music with the Sinfonietta, was a glorious time to be alive.
Attended Hugh Wood’s excellent compositional class at Morley College and he encouraged me to try university so I did a B.A. and M.A. at Sussex mostly supervised by Jonathan Harvey, a lovely man and a great musician who died too young. Managed to get a scholarship to Darmstadt for Brian Ferneyhough’s first year there (along with many now known as the Spectralists). Not entirely my cup of tea.
Returned to the UK and didn’t write another note for a long, long time. Instead did an O.U. Degree in psychology which I taught for many years. Blessed redundancy encouraged me to give composing another go – and the results are a million miles from Darmstadt.
I have a sneaky admiration for those composers with a sense of fun (Rossini, Offenbach, Satie, Ibert, Ligeti for example) and hope my efforts reflect this.
This is my youtube chanel: