Hoddinott, Alun

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Hoddinott, Alun

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Alun Hoddinott, the eminent Welsh composer and teacher, was born at Bargoed, 11 August 1929. He received his secondary education at Gowerton Grammar School where, in 1946, he won a scholarship to study at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Cardiff. He graduated (BMus) in 1949 and during this period he also studied composition with the Australian composer and pianist, Arthur Benjamin, in London.

Lecturing posts in Cardiff - at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, 1951-1959, and the University College, 1959-1965, led to a readership at the University of Wales. He gained a DMus in 1960. In 1967 he was appointed Professor of Music and Head of Department at Cardiff, retiring in 1987 in order to devote himself to composition.

Also in 1967 he co-founded the Cardiff Festival of Twentieth Century Music with the pianist John Ogdon, and was its artistic director until 1989.

In April 1953 he married Rhiannon Huws. They had studied together at Cardiff and she became central to every aspect of his life. She often translated and prepared texts to set to music. Their son, Huw Ceri, was born in 1957.

Alun Hoddinott became established early in his career as being one of the leading British composers of his generation. He achieved his first national success in 1954 when his Clarinet Concerto, op. 3, was given its first public performance at the Cheltenham Festival by Gervase de Peyer and the Hallé Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli. This brought him a national profile which was followed by a string of commissions by distinguished singers and instrumentalists that continued throughout his life. A prolific composer, his vast and versatile catalogue comprises nearly 300 individual works, including six operas, ten symphonies and over twenty concertos.

He was presented with several honorary awards, professional accolades and prestigious prizes in recognition of his achievements. He was appointed CBE in 1983. In 2009 the BBC National Orchestra of Wales's new home at the Wales Millennium Centre was named the BBC Hoddinott Hall - Neuadd Hoddinott BBC in his honour.

Alun Hoddinott died 11 March 2008.

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