Michael Nyman is one of the most successful living composers, his work encompassing operas, chamber music, soundtracks and concertos. For The Royal Ballet he created the score for Ashley Page’s A Broken Set of Rules (1984), and his Musique à grande vitesse forms the score for Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à grande vitesse (2006).
Nyman was born in London and studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music with Alan Bush and musicology at King’s College London with Thurston Dart. He studied folk music in Romania before returning to the UK to work as an editor, librettist (credits including Birtwistle’s Down by the Greenwood Side), performer and music critic. He returned to composition in the early 1970s and in 1976 founded the Campiello Band (later the Michael Nyman Band). Notable works include soundtracks for several Peter Greenaway films, his operas The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1986) and Facing Goya (2000) and ballet music for choreographers including Lucinda Childs, Stephen Petronio, Karine Saporta and Shobana Jeyasingh.
Nyman’s visual art has been exhibited in Tate Modern, Reina Sophia Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His first major exhibition of film and photography was held at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, in 2009. He has collaborated with contemporary artists including George Brecht, Bruce McLean, Mary Kelly, Carsten Nicolai and Kutlug Ataman. His full-length film NYman with a Movie Camera was first shown at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. He was appointed CBE in 2008.
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A quick guide to The Royal Ballet's triple programme of one-act ballets by Balanchine, Scarlett and Wheeldon.