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Dreamtiger 1980 concert program.jpg
Background information
Origin London, United Kingdom
Genres Contemporary classical
Occupation(s) Chamber orchestra
Years active 1974–1984
Past members Founder Douglas Young,
Kathryn Lukas, Peter Hill, Rohan de Saram

Specializing in chamber music and Eastern influences in 20th-century music, British contemporary music ensemble Dreamtiger was created and directed by composer Douglas Young (born 1947)[1] in 1974[2] while he was studying at Trinity College in Cambridge.[3]


Named after a Jorge Luis Borges short story, Dreamtiger performed in variable configurations, from duo to sextet. It was formed around the core membership of pianist, composer and musical director Douglas Young, virtuoso flutist Kathryn Lukas, pianist Peter Hill (who recorded Messiaen's complete works for piano on Unicorn-Kanchana in 1986[2]), as well as Arditti Quartet member and AMM occasional collaborator Rohan de Saram.

Other members between 1974 and 1984 have included soprano Margaret Field,[4] John Mayer (tampura),[5] Alexander Balanescu (violin), James Wood (percussion), Schaun Tozer (pianist, composer, member of The Lost Jockey with Andrew Poppy), Mark Lockett (pianist, member of the English Gamelan Orchestra), composer Rich Bamford on percussion, as well as Dick Owen and Ian Mitchell.


Dreamtiger premiered several important works by avantgarde composers like Iannis Xenakis (UK premiere of Psappha, 1975, and Kottos, 1977), Salvatore Sciarrino (European premiere of Ai Limiti Della Notte, for cello, 1979), Henri Pousseur (world premiere of Racine 19e de 8/4, for cello, 1976) or Christian Wolff (world premiere of Stardust Pieces, for cello and piano, 1980).[3] Their repertoire included more than 70 different composers, some closely associated with the Ensemble, like John Cage, Charles Ives, George Crumb,[4] John Foulds, Giacinto Scelsi, Luigi Dallapiccola or Toru Takemitsu.[6]

Dreamtiger and the Orient[edit]

Dreamtiger toured extensively in the UK in the early 1980s,[2] as well playing Stuttgart's Hospitalhof, West Germany, in 1982.[7] Their 1980 UK tour, organised by the Arts Council and Contemporary Music Network,[8] met with great audience success and critical appraise,[9] with a program comprising Maurice Ravel, Olivier Messiaen, Colin McPhee, George Crumb, Douglas Young, Xenakis and Toshiro Mayuzumi, prefaced by Rohan de Saram's demonstration of traditional Kandyan drums from his native Sri Lanka.

Douglas Young mentions two influences to explain his fascination for the Orient: Benjamin Britten's compositions The Prince of the Pagodas (1957) and Curlew River (1964), the latter inspired by the Sumidagawa Noh play; and meeting with Sri Lankan cellist de Saram.[3] Dreamtiger explored composers inspired by the Orient like Debussy, Britten, Foulds, Hovhaness, Mayer, McPhee, Messiaen, Scelsi, as well as Eastern composers like Nguyen-Thien Dao, Halim El-Dabh, Chou Wen-chung, Younghi Pagh-Paan, Yūji Takahashi, Toru Takemitsu, Isang Yun, Toshiro Mayuzumi or Kazuo Fukushima.[6]

The Ensemble apparently ceased activity after 1984, but Douglas Young's fascination with the Orient endured. In 1984, he published an article titled Colin McPhee's Music: from West to East,[10] with an analysis of McPhee's Balinese Ceremonial Music, for two pianos (1934). In 1985, Young composed a piano piece inspired by McPhee and Eastern music, simply titled Bali.[11] Dreamtiger's unique LP, East-West Encounters, published 1982, is based on their 1980 repertoire and is a collection of Eastern-influenced works by 20th-century composers, including Colin McPhee's Balinese Ceremonial Music (1934), Olivier Messiaen's Cantéyodjayâ (1948), George Crumb's Vox Balaenae (1971) and Douglas Young's Trajet/Inter/Lignes (1981).[12]


  1. ^ Larner (1973)
  2. ^ a b c Hill (1986), liner notes
  3. ^ a b c Young (1980), program notes
  4. ^ a b Dreamtiger (1979), program notes
  5. ^ Dreamtiger (1981), program notes
  6. ^ a b Repertoire List
  7. ^ Baruch, concert review (1982)
  8. ^ Amalgamated in Sound and Music Archived 1 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine. in 2009
  9. ^ Favorable concert reviews in The Guardian, The Times, Financial Times, The Sunday Times, The Morning Star and The Daily Telegraph.
  10. ^ Young, Tempo (New Series), pp.11–17
  11. ^ cf. Scores by Douglas Young. Retrieved 25 April 2012
  12. ^ Young (1982), liner notes


  • Larner, Gerald (August 1973). "Douglas Young article". The Musical Times. London, UK: Musical Times Publications Ltd. 114 (1566): 787–790. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  • Dreamtiger (1979), George Crumb 50th Birthday Concert program notes, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London 
  • Young, Douglas (1980), The Music of East and West program notes, Arts Council and Contemporary Music Network 
  • Dreamtiger (1981), East-West 2, concert series program notes, The English Bach Festival 
  • Baruch, Gerth-Wolfgang (22 June 1982). "Oswald und Dreamtiger". Stuttgarter Zeitung (in German). Stuttgart. 
  • Young, Douglas (1982). East-West Encounters (long-playing record) (liner notes). Dreamtiger. Manchester, UK: Cameo Classics. 
  • Dreamtiger (1983), Repertoire List, manuscript 
  • Young, Douglas (1984), "Colin McPhee's Music: from West to East", Tempo (New Series), Cambridge University Press, 150, pp. 11–17 
  • Hill, Peter (1986). The Piano Music of Olivier Messiaen, vol.2 (long-playing record) (liner notes). Peter Hill. London, UK: Unicorn-Kanchana.