I am proud to be able to claim that, from the age of nineteen, I've managed to earna living entirely as a composer.
Elizabeth Lutyens was the first professional composer that I ever knew. I sent someextremely infantile pieces that I I'd written and got marvellous encouragement andinterest from her... she's certainly the English composer who's influenced me themost.
I realized very early that I was never going to make by living by writing string quartets. But I wanted to write music and I didn't want to have to do anything else.
When I came across something I liked, I wanted to find out as much as I could about it. This was as true of hearing Hoagy Carmichael for the first time as it was later when I first heard Boulez.
I hated teaching composition. I was playing music I didn't particularly want to play, being on committees I didn't want to be on.
Being on a musical quest was something I always enjoyed.
I just scribbled away and eventually a C-major chord was there. I didn't ever decide I was going to be a composer. It was like being tall. It's what I was. It's what I did.
People ask what was the first piece of music I wrote. There was no first piece.
I wanted to write music, and cook, and play cards, and have a nice time.
I was a catastrophe at Science and Games, but the good thing about Quaker schools is that they encourage you in those subjects for which you show an aptitude.
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