16 Nov 2014

Mark-Anthony Turnage (b 1960)

From Composer of the Week, 9:00 am on 16 November 2014
Mark-Anthony Turnage

Mark-Anthony Turnage Photo: Philip Gatward


In his first decade, this Essex native listened obsessively to BBC Radio 3 to absorb as much music as he could.

In his second decade, his teacher and mentor Oliver Knussen overrode his pupil's doubts to tell him: "You are a composer."

In his third decade, he blazed into enfant terrible status with Greek, a foul-mouthed opera set in London's East End.

In his fourth decade, he held a major residency with Simon Rattle's City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, making connections that have followed him to the Berlin Philharmonic.

In his fifth decade, he composed concertos for the likes of Evelyn Glennie, Håkan Hardenberger, Christian Lindberg, Christian Tetzlaff and even jazz bassist John Patitucci.

Now in his sixth decade, which began with a Playboy bunny at the Royal Opera House, Mark's vibrant and direct style of music continues to connect with audiences across the globe.

Robbie Ellis talks to him about the saxophone; the visual arts; Beethoven; Bruckner; dealing with the media; favourite collaborators; and that thing with Beyoncé.

Music details:

Stewart/Nash/Harrell/Knowles: Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) - Beyoncé (Columbia 719 492)
Turnage: Hammered Out - BBC SO/David Robertson (BBC)
Turnage: Memorial, from Two Memorials - Martin Robertson (ssax) (Black Box BBM 1065)
Turnage: Scherzoid - London Phil/Jonathan Nott (LPO 0007)
Turnage: Hidden Love Song - Martin Robertson (ssax), London Phil/Marin Alsop (LPO 0031)
Turnage: Sweet & Decay, from Blood on the Floor - Martin Robertson (ssax), Dietmar Wiesner (fl), Ensemble Modern/Peter Rundel (Unknown Public UP 08)
Beethoven: 1st mvt from Symphony No 7 in A Op 92 - Royal Phil/Thomas Beecham (EMI CDM 7 69871)
Turnage: Prologue & Scene 1 from Greek - Quentin Hayes (bass), The Greek Ensemble/Richard Bernas (Argo 440 368)
Turnage/Scofield: Nocturnal Mission, from Scorched - John Scofield (gtr), John Patitucci (bgtr), Peter Erskine (drums), HR Big Band, Frankfurt Radio SO/Hugh Wolff (DG 474 729)
Turnage: Refrain, from Sleep On - Paul Watkins (cello) (Black Box BBM 1065)
Turnage: Slide Stride - Nash Ensemble: Ian Brown (pno), Marianne Thorsen & Benjamin Nabarro (vlns), Lawrence Power (vla), Paul Watkins (cello) (Onyx 4005)
Bruckner: Scherzo from Symphony No 9 in D minor - BBC SO/Jascha Horenstein (BBC Music BBCL 4017)
Turnage: Dance 1 from Night Dances - Gareth Hulse (ob/ca), Helen Tunstall (hp), John Constable (cello), John Wallace (tpt), London Sinfonietta/Oliver Knussen (Argo 452 598)
Turnage: Three Screaming Popes - City of Birmingham SO/Simon Rattle (EMI CDC 5 55901)
Turnage: Dispelling the Fears - Håkan Hardenberger & John Wallace (tpts), Philharmonia Orch/Daniel Harding (Argo 452 598)
Turnage: Four-Horned Fandango - Timothy Brown, Michael Murray, Andrew Antcliff & Christopher Larkin (hns), BBC SO/Leonard Slatkin (Chandos CHAN 10018)
Turnage: 3rd mvt from Yet Another Set To - Christian Lindberg (tbn), London Phil/Vladimir Jurowski (LPO 0007)
Turnage: Silent Cities - BBC SO/Leonard Slatkin (Chandos CHAN 10018)
Turnage: Loss & No More Jokes from The Torn Fields - Gerald Finley (bar), London Phil/Marin Alsop (LPO 0031)
Turnage/Thomas: Finale from Anna Nicole - Eva-Maria Westbroek (sop), Orch of the Royal Opera House/Antonio Pappano (Opus Arte OA 154)