82. Michael Laurence Nyman [365 Composers for 2013]


23rd March – Michael Nyman

Nyman (born 23rd March 1944) is our composer for 23rd March, to mark the day of his birth.
Nationality: English
Lifespan: Still alive
Genre: 20th century
Education: Royal Academy of Music and King’s College, London
Fame Ranking: 2

Nyman is a British composer who uses the minimalist style. After graduating in the 1960s, Nyman felt that he did not belong to either the camp of “serious” music fashionable in those days, e.g. that of Stockhausen, or that of popular music, and so he embarked on a career as a music critic. He worked for several well-known magazines such as the New Statesman and the Spectator and also published a book, “Experimental Music”, about the contemporary serious music scene.

Nyman started composing original music almost by accident. After accepting a job arranging some existing 18th century music for the National Theatre, to be performed on period instruments, he then began composing his own pieces for the same group of musicians. By the early 1980s this project crystalised into the “Michael Nyman Band”. Also since the 1980s, Nyman has written several film scores, in collaboration with director Peter Greenaway. His most famous work is probably the soundtrack to the film “The Piano”. He is not limited to film music however, but has also written in many other genres, including chamber music, concertos and opera.

Here is “The Promise”, from the film “The Piano”:


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