Joseph Horovitz was born in Vienna in 1926 and settled in England in 1938. After taking a music degree at New College, Oxford, he studied composition with Gordon Jacob at the Royal College of Music, London, winning the Farrar Prize, and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. His first post was as Music Director of the Bristol Old Vic Company (1950-51); he then came to London during the Festival of Britain to conduct various ballet companies including the Ballets Russes. From 1952-63 he was Associate Director of the Intimate Opera Company and in 1956 joined the music staff of Glyndebourne Opera.
He received the Commonwealth Medal for Composition in 1959 and a Leverhulme Research Award in 1961, and has won two Ivor Novello Awards: for Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo (Best British Music for Children 1975) and "Lillie" (Best TV Music 1978). In 1990 he received a BACS Gold Badge. He was awarded the Gold Order of Merit of the City of Vienna in 1996, and in 2002 the Nino Rota Prize in Italy for "an outstanding international musical career". In 2007 he received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Arts First Class, and honorary membership of the Austrian Composers' Society. The Worshipful Company of Musicians awarded him the Cobbett Medal in 2008 for services to chamber music.
He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music, where he has been a Professor of Composition since 1961. He has been a Council Member of the Composers' Guild of Great Britain since 1970, served on the Executive of the Performing Right Society from 1969-1996, and from 1981-89 was President of the International Council of Composers and Lyricsts (CIAM).
His works range widely: fourteen ballets, including Alice in Wonderland commissioned by Festival Ballet in 1953 and regularly revived world-wide; two one-act operas - The Dumb Wife (libretto Peter Shaffer) and Gentleman's Island (libretto Gordon Snell); nine concertos (oboe, trumpet, clarinet, bassoon, euphonium, tuba, violin, percussion, jazz harpsichord/piano); five string quartets; music for orchestra, brass band and wind ensembles; choral works, including an ecological cantata Summer Sunday and an oratorio Samson; works for Hoffnung Concerts - Bournevita and Horrortorio; music for Son et Lumiere, and over seventy TV scores, including two BBC Shakespeare plays, Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie series, Fight Against Slavery, Dorian Gray, Rumpole of the Bailey. He has recently completed an opera, Ninotchka.
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