Geoffrey Álvarez - Composer  

Geoffrey Alvarez (b.London 1961) has played under conductors such as Pierre Boulez and Simon Rattle in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, (1974 5). At this time he founded an orchestra under the patronage of Sir Colin Davis, writing a concerto for Michael Collins and Peter Kronheimer and a Symphony, both played by his orchestra. He was subsequently a Leverhulme Scholar at the Royal Academy of Music. His lute pieces Teares and Lamentaçions for Scottish lutenist Rob MacKillop, published by the Lute Society have attracted international attention, being reviewed by Betsy Small for the Lute Society of America who also published his el primer olor, a song for bass and 6-course lute.

Whilst a postgraduate student at the University of York he participated in the 1986 International Dance Course for Professional Choreographers and Composers. In 1989, he obtained a Doctorate in Composition from York, having help rebuild the university’s New Music Ensemble - Anemone.

Returning to London in 1990, he taught Ethnomusicology and Classical Performance/Analysis at Goldsmiths College; the same year being awarded a composition prize in the Royal Overseas League Music Competition. In 1998 he tutored composition at the Caithness Summer Music School.

He has received commissions from artists/organisations such as Nicholas Daniel (Oboe Concerto), Nicholas Korth principle horn Oslo Symphony Orchestra:(Horn Trio The Cimmerian Sibyl), the Garden Venture of the Royal Opera House (The European Story), the Soho Theatre (Emisori Rites) English Country Opera (a completion of Mozart's Bastien and Bastienne). Several works have been purchased by the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada. His song cycle Songs My Parrot Taught Me delighted Luciano Berio when he heard the C.D. conducted by Malcolm Singer during Alvarez’ visit to Berio's Florentine home in 1994. His Spinning Night is also to be recorded on C.D. with trombonist Alan Tomlinson, heard at the 1998 Festival of the British Trombone Society. Notable performances include the improvisation of piano accompaniment to Hitchcock's The Lodger for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating his birthplace and the conducting of the première of his Cummings’ setting Love’s Own Secret for double choir, horn, organ and soloists. His Laughing Lotus received a London performance by the Harlequin Wind Quintet in March 1999, having been first performed the previous year at the Oxford Festival of Contemporary Music. 1999 also saw a revival of the ballet Kerb-Crawling in Oxford, conducted by Julian Faultless, first heard in the York Festival in 1989. He is currently working on a recording of his el duende, a setting of six poems by Federico García Lorca with tenor Kevin West and an opera - The King’s Last Prophecy - based on the beliefs of the Kogi of Colombia.

The portrait photograph is by Malcolm Crowthers.