Peter Fribbins

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Peter Fribbins (born June 4, 1969, London) is a British composer. He studied music at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal Holloway and Nottingham universities, and composition with Hans Werner Henze in London and Italy.

A number of his key works are literary-inspired, and much of his music is for strings, notable exceptions being the early wind quintet 'In Xanadu' from 1992 (after Coleridge), 'Porphyria’s Lover' (1999) for flute and piano (after Browning), and the clarinet and piano '...That Which Echoes in Eternity' (after lines from Dante's Divine Comedy). Of his two string quartets, the first is subtitled 'I Have the Serpent Brought' after lines by John Donne from his poem 'Twicknam Garden', and the second (2006) commissioned by the Chilingirian Quartet (Levon Chilingirian), subtitled 'After Cromer' since much of the thematic material is derived from the English hymn of the same name. Other chamber works for strings include two piano trios - the first, more substantial one premiered in Vienna in 2004, and the latter, an evocative single-movement piece (2007) entitled 'Softly, in the Dusk...' after the poem 'Piano' by D. H. Lawrence - a Cello Sonata commissioned by Raphael Wallfisch and John York (2005) and the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings (2002). There are also songs and various smaller instrumental works.

Peter Fribbins is also Director of Music at Middlesex University, London (since 2004) and Artistic Director of the long-established series of Sunday London Chamber Music Society Concerts, formally at Conway Hall and resident at Kings Place since 2008.

His concert work is often linked with a group of British composers called 'Music Haven', not a school as such, but a collection of composers (c.f. the French 'Les Six' or the British 'Manchester School', from the early and late twentieth-century respectively), mostly London-based and with broadly similar interests and aesthetic outlook, reflecting sympathies for British masters such as Britten and Tippett and the great music of the First Viennese School, especially Haydn and Beethoven, as well as the Scandinavian influences of Sibelius and Nielsen. The group includes James Francis Brown, Northern Irish-born Alan Mills, Matthew Taylor, John Hawkins, Geoff Palmer, and more peripherally two older British composers, David Matthews and by association, John McCabe CBE. The set of piano pieces 'Seven Haydn Fantasies for John McCabe' - each composed by a different composer and published in 2009 on the occasion of the latter's 70th birthday - is in many ways typical of the group's work.


  • I Have the Serpent Brought - Guild (GMCD 7343). String Quartet No.1, Piano Trio, Clarinet Quintet, Cello Sonata. Performed by the Allegri Quartet, Angell Piano Trio, Raphael Wallfisch (cello), John York (piano) and James Campbell (clarinets).
  • British Fantasies, American Dreams - Guild (GMCD 7230). 'Porphyria's Lover', performed by Nancy Ruffer(flute) and Helen Crayford(piano).
  • The London Cantilena Quintet - Serendipity (SERCD 2000). 'In Xanadu' for wind quintet, performed by the London Cantilena Quintet.

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