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Michael Finnissy
Michael Finnissy photo

‘What's striking about the music is its feeling of utter spontaneity, and its incredible emotional power . . . the remarkable thing about Finnissy's music is that despite its frequent sorrow and anger, it has a marvellous power to affirm.’
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph


Michael Finnissy was born in Tulse Hill, London in 1946 and studied at the Royal College of Music. He later studied in Italy with Roman Vlad. He went on to create the music department of the London School of Contemporary Dance, and has been associated as composer with many notable British dance companies. He has also been musician in residence to the Victorian College of the Arts, the City of Caulfield in Australia, and the East London Late Starters Orchestra. In 1999 he was made Professor of Composition at the University of Southampton.

Finnissy has been featured composer at the Bath, Huddersfield, and Almeida festivals, and his works are widely performed and broadcast worldwide. Recordings are available on various labels, notably NMC and Metier; the latter has released a cycle of CDs to great critical acclaim.

2006 was Michael Finnissy’s sixtieth birthday year, and highlights included ‘The Finnissy Weekend’ (a series of concerts at the BMIC ‘Cutting Edge’ series), the world première of his song cycle Whitman at HCMF, and a full performance of his epic piano cycle The History of Photography in Sound.

January 2008 saw the revival of his major orchestral work Red Earth by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, chosen by Judith Weir to form part of her BBC composer weekend. Finnissy was also featured composer at the Borealis Festival, Norway, and the Time of Music Festival in Finland in 2009.

2009 commissions included a stage work for mixed professional and amateur performers, Mankind, which received its London première at the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music in May 2009, and The Transgressive Gospel, an evening-length setting of the Passion of Christ. The première was at Wilton's Music Hall on 12 June as part of the 2009 Spitalfields Festival and broadcast in full on BBC Radio 3's 'Hear and Now' programme in August 2009.

One of Finnissy's most substantial works of 2010 was a commission from the New London Chamber Choir and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. The work, Gedächtnis-Hymne, was premièred by the New London Chamber Choir and the Rascher Saxophone Quartet at the November Festival in the Netherlands, and then performed again at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in November 2010.

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A Cambridge Codex
Vocal and instrumental scores and parts on hire
Michael Finnissy
978-0-19-345330-2
Paperback
01 November 1991
Available on Hire
Anima Christi
Vocal score
Michael Finnissy
978-0-19-336114-0
Paperback
03 February 2005
£8.50
Beuk o'Newcassel Sangs
Michael Finnissy
978-0-19-345325-8
Paperback
05 April 1990
£7.00
Bright Future Ignoring Dark Past
Score and parts
Michael Finnissy
978-0-19-356460-2
06 October 2011
£5.00
Michael Finnissy
978-0-19-335596-5
Paperback
06 July 2006
£45.00
Collected Shorter Piano Pieces
Volume 1
Michael Finnissy
978-0-19-372640-6
Paperback
02 May 1991
£15.00
Collected Shorter Piano Pieces Volume II
Michael Finnissy
978-0-19-372643-7
Paperback
17 December 1998
£25.00
Comfortable Words
Vocal score
Michael Finnissy
978-0-19-336011-2
Paperback
13 March 2008
£1.85
Descriptive Jottings of London
Vocal score
Michael Finnissy
978-0-19-335543-9
Paperback
17 February 2005
£5.00
Eph-phatha
Conductor's score and parts on hire
Michael Finnissy
978-0-19-363206-6
01 July 1989
Available on Hire
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