Sorabji, Kaikhosru Shapurji [Leon Dudley]
- Paul Rapoport
- , revised by Marc-André Roberge
(b Chingford, nr London, Aug 14, 1892; d Winfrith Newburgh, nr Dorchester, Oct 15, 1988). English composer, pianist, and writer on music. The son of an English mother (not Spanish-Sicilian, as has long been assumed) and a Parsi civil engineer from Bombay, he disliked being labelled as English. He was educated privately in London, receiving several years’ training in music. He was a self-taught composer, his known works dating from 1914 to 1984. Between the world wars he was a music critic, notably for the New Age and the New English Weekly. He remained an outsider as a critic and composer, owing to his anti-establishment views, private training, racial origins, homosexuality, and self-described ‘mania for privacy’. This last led him to mislead or turn away people enquiring after personal data such as the year and place of his birth.
Because he was financially secure, Sorabji did not need an income from his music criticism and felt no pressure to make it tactful. His colourful prose writings, comprising articles mostly on music and copious letters to the press and to individuals on many subjects, often project polemical attitudes and extreme opinions. They display caustic censure as well as effusive praise, coruscating wit as well as solemn contemplation....