Alexander Goehr, composer and teacher, was born in Berlin in August 1932, the son of the conductor Walter Goehr, and was brought to England a year later. He studied in Manchester, where together with Birtwistle, Maxwell Davies and John Ogden he formed the New Music Manchester Group, and in Paris with Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod. In the early '60s he worked for the BBC and formed the Music Theatre Ensemble, the first devoted to what has become an established musical form. From the late '60s onwards he taught at the New England Conservatory Boston, Yale, Leeds and was appointed to the chair of music of the University of Cambridge in 1975. He has also taught in China and has twice been Composer-in-Residence at Tanglewood. He was the first musician to give the Reith Lectures in 1987.

Alexander Goehr has written four operas and a substantial body of orchestral and chamber works. Recent works include an orchestral piece, Adagio (Autoportr├Ąt) commissioned by the Musikalischen Akademie des Nationaltheater-Orchesters Mannheim; Fantasie, a work for cello and piano for Paul and Huw Watkins; and a series of piano pieces, Symmetry Disorders Reach, recorded by Huw Watkins on WERGO. Goehr is currently working on an opera, Promised End, based on King Lear.

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Photo: Maurice Foxall