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Callum Ross

(Southcombe)

Member of Lloyd Webber family

(b London, March 11, 1914; d London, Oct 29, 1982). Composer and organist. By the age of 14 he was well known as an organ recitalist. He won an organ scholarship to Mercer’s School and subsequently to the RCM (FRCO 1933), where his teachers included Vaughan Williams, among others. Although World War II interrupted his compositional development, the conclusion of the war marked the beginning of his most prolific years. His works from 1945 to the mid-1950s include the oratorio St Francis of Assisi (1948), the orchestral tone poem Aurora (1951) and the Sonatina for viola and piano (1951). Writing in a style firmly embedded in the Romanticism of such composers as Rachmaninoff, Sibelius and Franck, he became increasingly convinced that his music was ‘out of step’ with the prevailing climate of the time. Rather than compromise his approach, he virtually stopped composing, turning instead to academic music. He taught at the RCM and in ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Bratislava, 16 Oct 1981). Slovak composer, saxophonist, and improviser. Studied composition at the University of Performing arts in Bratislava (VŠMU) (with Jevgenij Iršai and Vladimír Godár) and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (with Michal Rataj), as well as musicology at the Comenius University in Bratislava.

He is unusual in the Czecho-Slovak context for the breadth of his musical and cultural interests – eclecticism and a Schnittkean polystylism are the only unifying elements of his work, perhaps together with relentless demands on the listener’s emotions (in one direction or another). His earlier works betray the influence of Schnittke in their rapid changes and distressed emotiveness interspersed with moments of (ironic?) grandeur, while at other times, his use of explosive improvisation and a range of stylistic contexts brings John Zorn to mind.

He has a close relationship with theatre, both in his operas and video-operas – often made in collaboration with the actor, director, and librettist Marek Kundlák – and in his instrumental music, which doesn’t shy away from theatricality and make-believe. He often treats musics as cultural phenomena, mindful of their history and current position, unafraid to appropriate and explore what he calls the emptied-out or sketched-out worlds that remain in music after the 20th century....