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Sonata by Ridout
Alan Ridout was born in Kent in 1934. He began to learn the piano at the age of nine and by the age of twelve he had gained a distinction in Grade VIII. More important to his future career was that by the same age he had written over a hundred works: dramatic music, orchestral works (there was a symphony) and numerous concertante pieces, chamber music, piano music, songs and choral settings. He was allowed to leave Haberdashers' Aske's School as soon as he was 15 to begin some six years professional music study. Two years were spent at the Guildhall School of Music where, apart from composition, he continued his piano studies and also studied conducting. His primary interest in composition then took him to the Royal College of Music where he worked for two years with Gordon Jacob and a further two with Herbert Howells.
By the time he left the R.C.M. at the age of 20 a good number of his works had been performed, mainly at concerts of the Society for the Promotion of New Music. His first instrumental work to be professionally performed was a Concerto for String Orchestra, written when he was 14. Whilst being in charge of music in a boarding school he continued his studies in composition with Peter Racine Fricker and Sir Michael Tippett. He was then awarded a Netherlands Government Scholarship in 1958, and explored both electronic and microtonal techniques. When Alan Ridout returned to England he decided to undergo a comprehensive study of early music. This was carried out with Thurston Dart, Professor of Music at the University of Cambridge. At about this time Alan Ridout started teaching at the University of Birmingham, and at the Royal College of Music. By 1964 he was teaching at both the University of Cambridge and the University of London, whilst being professor of theory and composition at the Royal College of Music.
In 1964 he was made a Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. A Fellowship of the Royal College of Music and other honours followed. His work as a teacher included spells at the University of Oxford, and also teaching composition to musically gifted children, about which he has written. In 1990, following a heart attack, he stopped teaching entirely and gave all his time to composing and editing. He fulfilled a long-standing desire to live in France, and died in Caen in March 1996.
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