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Anthony Milner

Born: 1925

Died: 2002

Nationality: American

Publisher: Novello & Co

Anthony Milner was born in Bristol in 1925. From Douai School he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where he studied piano with Herbert Fryer and theory with R.O. Morris. He also studied composition privately with Matyas Seiber. From 1948 to 1964 he was Tutor in Music History and Theory at Morley College, London. A distinguished teacher, Anthony Milner has given many lecture-tours of the US and Canada, visiting over sixty campuses, lecturing mainly on twentieth-century British music; his interest in sacred and liturgical music led to an appointment as Composer-in-Residence at the Summer School of Liturgical Music at Loyola University, New Orleans, in 1965 and 1966. He was Lecturer in Music at King's College, London, from 1965 to 1971, moving to Goldsmiths College as Senior Lecturer in 1971 and becoming Principal Lecturer there in 1974. In 1980 he was appointed Principal Lecturer at the Royal College of Music where he had taught part-time since 1961. Milner retired from this position in 1989. From 1954 to 1965 he was director and harpsichordist of the London Cantata Ensemble, a group specialising in the performance of baroque chamber music. They gave the first broadcasts of many of Buxtehude's solo cantatas, as well as the first performances of his own works. A devout Roman Catholic throughout his life, in 1985 Pope Paul II appointed Anthony Milner a Knight of St. Gregory in recognition of his work for Catholic liturgical music Anthony Milner has been commissioned by many of England's prestigious musical establishments, and his music has been performed by, among others, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Three Choirs Festival, the City of London Festival, BBC Singers, and the London Bach Choir. His three symphonies are major works within the catalogue. Both Symphony 2 and 3 (written in 1978 and 1988 respectively) contain sets of variations. Symphony 2 is scored for soloists, choir and orchestra, with the middle movement cast as a passacaglia. The mood of this powerful and beautiful work is set by a quotation from Virgil - "These are the tears of things". The texts are selected from Gerard Manley Hopkins, St Francis and the Bible, The symphony was commissioned by the BBC for the Liverpool Festival of Sacred Music and first performed on 13 July 1978 at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool by Jane Manning and John Elwes (soloists) the Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Meredith Davies. Symphony 3 was commissioned to mark the centenary of the Royal College of Music. It is an abstract work concerned with music and structure, and without extra-musical programmes. The slow movement has six variations on a theme stretching over a two-octave compass, all to a slow crotchet beat. Derived patterns build excitement progressively and then relax into final repose. This work received its world premiere at the Royal College of Music by the RCM Orchestra, conducted by Lionel Friend, on 26th November 1987. It is dedicated to all the composer's students there, past and present. Several of Anthony Milner's works have been commercially recorded, including his Symphony No. 1. His Oboe Concerto was commissioned by the Philharmonia for John Anderson and completed in 1994. The composer spent the last two years of his life in Spain and died at L'Alfaz del Pi., Alicante, on September 22, 2002
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