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Turnage, Mark-Anthony

Turnage, Mark-Anthony (b Grays, Essex, 1960). Eng. composer. Comp.-in-association with CBSO 1989–93. Distinctive if eclectic style deriving from many sources incl. rock and jazz. Prin. comps.:OPERAS: Greek (1986–8); Killing Time (TV) (1991).ORCH.: Let us sleep now, chamber orch. (1979, rev. 1982); Night Dances (1980–1); Kind of Blue (1981–2); Ekaya (1984); Gross Intrusion, amp. str. qt., str., 14 players (1987); Three Screaming Popes (1988–9); Momentum (1990–1); Drowned Out (1992–3); Your Rockaby, sax. conc. (1993).VOICE(S) & ENS.: Lament for a Hanging Man, sop., ens. (1983); One Hand in Brooklyn Heights, 16 vv., perc. (1986); Greek Suite, mez., ten., ens. (1989); Some Days, mez., orch. (1989); Leaving, sop., ten., ch., ens. (1990, rev. 1992); Her Anxiety, sop., ens. (1991).CHAMBER ENS.: And Still a Softer Morning, fl., vib., hp., vc. (1978, rev. 1983); After Dark, wind quintet, str. quintet (1982–3); On All Fours, chamber ens. (1985); Sarabande, sop. sax., pf. (1985); Release, 8 players (1987); Kai, vc., ens. (1989–90); 3 Farewells, fl., cl., hp., str. qt. (1990); Are You Sure?, str. qt. (1990, rev. 1991); 3 Lullabies, vc., pf. (1992); This Silence, cl., hn., bn., str. qt. (1992–3); Set To, brass ens. (1992–3); Blood on the Floor, large ens. (1993–4); Two Elegies Framing a Shout, sop. sax., pf. (1994).PIANO: Entranced (1982).

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"Turnage, Mark-Anthony." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Turnage, Mark-Anthony." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/turnage-mark-anthony

Turnage, Mark-Anthony

Mark-Anthony Turnage

Composer

For the Record

Selected compositions

Sources

One of Europes leading operatic and orchestral composers since garnering acclaim for the 1988 opera Greek and the 1989 orchestral piece Three Screaming Popes, Mark-Anthony Turnage has earned a reputation as the hard man of classical music for his penchant for grimness. His themes are often violent prison life, urban alienation, drug addiction, and murder have been represented in the composers work. Im interested in art thats quite extreme and bleak, he told Los Angeles Times writer Justin Davidson in an interview about 1996s jazz-tinged Blood on the Floor, inspired in part by the suicide of Turnages drug-addicted brother.

Always testing the notions of how classical music should sound, Turnage is not one to adhere to symphonic conventions. He likes electric guitars, trumpets, and the saxophone, instruments integral to the American jazz tradition. When I discovered black American musicsoul, funk, black jazz, Miles Davis it was being listened to by a minority in England, but with great love, Turnage recalled to Davidson. Theres something thats very emotionally honest about [black music] that I find really powerful. I come from a totally different background: Im a white male, but in England I was a white working-class male, which means a lot more than it does in America. So I tend to like outsiders.

Born in 1960 in Grays, Essex, England, Turnage received encouragement from his parents to study composition, though an early music teacher didnt believe in him at all. Fortunately, a successful audition with the junior department at the Royal College of Music provided a boost to Turnages self-confidence. Upon gaining acceptance into the program, he studied with Oliver Knussen and John Lambert, who both recognized the young mans talent. While at the Royal College of Music, Turnage won numerous composition prizes, then, in 1983, claimed a Mendelssohn scholarship to study with Gunther Schuller and Hans Werner Henze at Tanglewood in the United States.

Despite his achievements and his position as an influential member of the classical music establishment, Turnage has always felt like an outsider among peers. Ive come up from such a funny route and I dont quite know how it happened, he said in an interview with Malcolm Galloway and Kathryn Thomas of the Galliard Ensemble for the Classical Source online. I grew up in an industrial area in Essex. My background was upper working class or very lower middle class. I never went to university, and if I hadnt become a composer, I would be working at Fords in Dagenham. But because of his background, Turnage was able to draw from a well of ideas unknown to many of his contemporaries, who primarily came from affluent backgrounds. This difference has helped meit is a bit of a story, the composer added, and I cant deny that Ive used it.

After completing his formal training, Turnage worked for several years as a music copyist until the mid-1980s, when he began receiving more commissions for his work. His operatic debut, Greek, based on the 1980 Steven Berkoff drama bearing the same title, won great acclaim at its premiere at the first Munich Biennale in Germany in June of 1988. A brutal, jazzy contemporary opera similar in theme to SophoclesOedipus Rex (the story of a man who accidentally kills his father and marries his mother, resulting in a city-wide plague, Oedipus blinding at his own hand, and his wifes suicide), Greek progresses from a violent indictment of English societyracism, violence, unemployment, and class strugglesto a sardonic conclusion.

Following its debut, Greek traveled to the Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland and was performed by the English National Opera (ENO) in 1990. Also that year, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) commissioned and screened a film version for television, and in 1994, the Argo record label released Greek on CD. Since then, the opera has been performed on a regular basis throughout Europe and twice in Australia. In July of 1998, Greek debuted in the United States at the Aspen Music Festival, and in 2000, the London Sinfoniettas 1998 production embarked on an international tour.

In October of 1989, Three Screaming Popes a rattling orchestral piece inspired by a painting by Francis Baconpremiered with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) and conductor Simon Rattle,

For the Record

Born in 1960 in Grays, Essex, England. Education: Attended the Royal College of Music, studying with Oliver Knussen and John Lambert; studied with Gunther Schuller and Hans Werner Henze at Tanglewood in the United States.

Greek, an opera, premiered at the first Munich Biennale, Germany, 1988; orchestral work Three Screaming Popes premiered with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, 1989; symphonic jazz piece Blood on the Floor debuted at Londons South Bank Center, 1996; Turnages first large-scale opera, The Silver Tassie, opened at the English National Opera, 2000.

Addresses: Management Van Walsum Management Ltd., 4 Addison Bridge PL, London W14 8XP U.K., phone: 44 (0) 20 7371 4343, fax: 44 (0) 20 7371 4344, website: http://www.vanwalsum.co.uk.

marking the beginning of Turnages four-year term as Composer in Association with the CBSO. The project, initiated and funded by the Radcliffe Trust, resulted in four works written by Turnage. Rattle and the CBSO took his music on tours across Europe. The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) also played Turnages music during the composers time as an associate of the CBSO. This special relationship with the city was celebrated by a major retrospective in April of 1994, while EMI released a CD documenting the works of the CBSO and BCMG, conducted by Rattle, later that year.

In 1997, Turnages saxophone concerto Your Rockaby and the jazz pieces Night Dances and Dispelling the Fears, compiled and released on the Argo label that year, received a nomination for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. Also in 1997, the Decca label issued a recording of the acclaimed jazz piece Blood on the Floor. For this work, Turnage, in 1996, had collaborated with celebrated jazz musicians John Scofield, Peter Erskine, and Martin Robertson (who also gave a solo performance for Your Rockaby) on this full-length project commissioned by Ensemble Modern. A study of drug addiction, decay, and death, Blood on the Floor earned rave reviews upon its premiere performance at Londons South Bank Center in May of 1996. Despite the works dark, as well as personal subject matter, Turnage cautioned listeners against sensationalizing his music. The fact that two of the movements are in memory of my brother gets treated like a selling point, he told Davidson, which I find very irritating. People grab on to that, and they dont listen [to the music].

In June and July of 1997, at the Aldeburgh Festival, the ENO presented for the first time two new pieces composed by Turnage: Twice Through the Heart and The Country of the Blind. Two years later, the BBC commissioned a new work from Turnage to celebrate the turn of the century. That piece, About Time, was first performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the BCMG with Rattle as conductor for a live broadcast from the Ely Cathedral.

The composers first large-scale opera, The Silver Tassie, written during Turnages residency as a Composer in Association with the ENO and as a consultant to the organizations Contemporary Opera Studio, opened at the ENO on February 16, 2000, to international acclaim. The opera, depicting the effects of war on ordinary people, tells the story of a hometown football hero who suffers a paralyzing wound on the battlefield during World War I. The Silver Tassie made its German debut in April of 2000, and in the spring of 2001, was to be performed by Opera Ireland. In 2002, the opera is to premiere in the United States at the Dallas Opera, which co-commissioned the American production.

In June of 2000, Turnage served as Composer in Residence at the Ojai Festival, where Rattle conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a performance of Blood on the Floor. In October of that year, Turnages Another Set, a work for trombone and orchestra, was performed with Christian Lindberg at Barbican Hall to mark Leonard Slatkins first season with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Now an Associate Composer with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Turnage is commissioned to write a new large-scale work, expected to debut in 2003.

Regarded as one of his countrys most innovative composers, Turnage has a driving passion for music and will undoubtedly continue to breathe new life into classical music. Why does he compose?Its difficult to know really, he said to Galloway and Thomas. Its something Ive wanted to do since the age of nine, so Ive really not known any different. Its an urge, and if the urge went away Id just give it up. Its something I love doing. If I had my way Id do it all the timeits not that it comes easily to me, its just that the actual process of writing is exciting, and it makes me happy.

Selected compositions

Greek (opera), 1988.

Three Screaming Popes (orchestral piece), 1989.

Momentum (10-minute jazz piece), 1991.

(With John Scofield, Peter Erskine, and Martin Robertson) Blood on the Floor (full-length jazz work), 1996.

Your Rockaby (saxophone concerto), 1997.

Night Dances (jazz piece), 1997.

Dispelling the Fears (jazz piece), 1997.

The Country of the Blind, 1997.

Twice Through the Hear, 1997.

About Time (trombone and orchestral piece), 1999.

The Silver Tassie (full-scale opera), 2000.

Another Set, 2000.

Sources

Periodicals

American Record Guide, November/December 1998; May/June 1999; May/June 2000.

Boston Globe, August 14, 1997.

Economist, September 14, 1996.

Los Angeles Times, March 10, 1998; May 28, 2000.

New York Times, June 7, 2000.

Opera News, January 31, 1998; October 1998; June 2000.

Spectator, November 1, 1997; February 26, 2000.

USA Today, July 22, 1998.

Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2000.

Washington Post, January 15, 1999.

Online

Dallas Opera, http://www.dallasopera.org (September 29,2000).

Mark-Anthony Turnage, Classical Source, August 1999, http://www.pamag.eom/Reviews/1999_08~August_1999/Mark_Anthony_Turnage.shtml (September 29, 2000).

Mark-Anthony Turnage, Van Walsum Management Limited, http://www.vanwalsum.co.uk/amdmat.htm (September 29,2000).

Laura Hightower

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"Turnage, Mark-Anthony." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Turnage, Mark-Anthony." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/turnage-mark-anthony