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Michael Berkeley

Composer

Biography

British composer and broadcaster Michael Berkeley was Chairman of the Governors of The Royal Ballet 2003–12. As a composer he has produced two scores for The Royal Ballet: for Kim Branstrup's Rushes – Fragments of a Lost Story (2008), arranging and elaborating music by Sergey Prokofiev, and for Wayne McGregor's Tetractys – The Art of Fugue (2014), arranging and orchestrating movements of J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue. The premiere of his opera For You, a collaboration with Ian McEwan, was given by Music Theatre Wales in the Linbury Studio Theatre in 2008.

Berkeley was born in 1948, the eldest son of Lennox Berkeley and a godson of Benjamin Britten. He was a chorister at Westminster Cathedral before going on to study at the Royal Academy of Music. He later studied under Richard Rodney Bennett and in 1977 won the Guinness Prize for Composition. Berkeley has worked as Composer in Association for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and was Artistic Director of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music 1995–2005. Premieres of his works have been given by ensembles such as the London Symphony Orchestra and the Carducci Quartet. Major commissions include an anthem for the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013.

Berkeley is the presenter of Radio 3’s Private Passions. He was appointed a CBE in 2012 and in 2013 was made a non-party political member of the House of Lords.

Videos

News and features

Ballet Essentials: Rhapsody / Tetractys – The Art of Fugue / Gloria

Ballet Essentials: Rhapsody / Tetractys – The Art of Fugue / Gloria

3 February 2014

A guide to The Royal Ballet's mixed programme featuring a new work from Wayne McGregor and two masterpieces by Ashton and MacMillan.