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Lennox Berkeley

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Sir Lennox Randal Francis Berkeley (May 12, 1903 – December 26, 1989) was an English composer.


He was born in Oxford, England, and educated at the Dragon School, Gresham's School and Merton College, Oxford. In 1927, he went to Paris to study music with Nadia Boulanger, and there he became acquainted with Francis Poulenc, Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger and Albert Roussel. Berkeley also studied with Maurice Ravel, often cited as a key influence in Berkeley's technical development as a composer. The French influence would continue to be felt in his music. He worked for the BBC during the Second World War, and later became president of the Performing Rights Society. He was knighted in 1974. He held the chair of Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music from 1946 to 1968, and his pupils there included Richard Rodney Bennett, David Bedford and John Tavener. He enjoyed a long association with Benjamin Britten, another old boy of Gresham's School, with whom he collaborated on a number of works. In later years, his adoption of serialism marked a darker and more brooding style.

His son, Michael Berkeley, is also a composer.

Career highlights


(selected list)


  • Nelson, (1951)
  • A Dinner Engagement, op.45 (1954)
  • Ruth, op.50 (1955-6)


  • Serenade, for string orchestra (1938-9)
  • Symphony No. 1 (1936-40)
  • Divertimento (1943)
  • Piano Concerto in B-flat major, op.29 (1947-8)
  • Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, op.30 (1948)
  • Symphony No. 2 (1958, revised 1976)
  • Symphony No. 3, in one movement (1968-9)
  • Sinfonia Concertante, for oboe and chamber orchestra (1972-3)
  • Voices of the Night, op.86 (1973)
  • Guitar Concerto op.88
  • Symphony No. 4 (1977-8)


  • A Festival Anthem, op.21 no.2 (1945)
  • Crux fidelis, op.43 no.1 (1955)
  • Look up, sweet babe, op.43 no. 2 (1955)
  • Missa Brevis, op.57 (1960)
  • Mass for five voices, op.64 (1964)
  • Three Latin Motets, op.83 no.1 (1972)
  • The Lord is my shepherd, op.91 no.1 (1975)
  • Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, op.99 (1980)

Solo Vocal

  • Four Poems of St Teresa of Ávila, op.27, for contralto and string orchestra (1947)
  • Three Greek Songs, op.38 (1953)
  • Five Poems by W. H. Auden, op.58


  • String Quartet No. 1, op.6
  • String Quartet No. 2, op.15
  • String Quartet No. 3, op.76
  • Sonata in D Minor for Viola and Piano, Op.22 (1946)
  • Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano, op.44 (1952)
  • Sextet for Clarinet, Horn and String Quartet, op.47 (1954)[1]
  • Duo for Cello and Piano


  • Three Pieces, op.2 (1935)
  • Piano Sonata in A major, op.20 (1941-5)
  • Six Preludes, op.23 (1945)
  • Three Mazurkas, op.31 no.1 (1939-49)


  • Quatre pièces pour la guitare (1928)
  • Sonatina, op.52 no.1 (1957)
  • Theme and Variations, op.77 (1970)

Selected recordings

External links


  1. Review Sextet May 2008, quote: Berkeley wrote his three movement Sextet for Clarinet, Horn and String Quartet, Op. 47 in 1954 for the Melos Ensemble.
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