Portrait Photograph by Malcolm Crowthers
Geoffrey Alvarez is a British/Nicaraguan composer and conductor. He chairs the annual international composition competition run by the Alvarez Chamber Orchestra. He is also a writer on music and inventor of Gravesian Analysis.
Education and work
Alvarez studied composition privately with Giles Swayne, then with Paul Patterson at the Royal Academy of Music as a Leverhulme scholar, and later at the University of York with David Blake and Richard Orton, where he obtained a D.Phil.
Some of his papers are published in Gravesiana: The Journal of the Robert Graves Society, whilst he has contributed several articles for Tempo on the work of composers such as Michael Finnissy and Alexander Goehr Arianna (Goehr). His own work (his setting of Psalm XXIII in Hebrew) was reviewed in the same publication by Mark R. Taylor.
His compositions range from the wind quintet The Travelling Musicians, performed by the Harlequin Wind Quintet in the Purcell Room in 2001 to seven symphonies and numerous operas including a collaboration with poet Ruth Fainlight commissioned by the Garden Venture of the Royal Opera House: The European Story.
In November 2006, Geoffrey Alvarez returned from Poland as a prize-winning finalist and soloist with the Arthur Rubenstein Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra in the Final of the Tansman 6th International Competition of Musical Personalities, Composers Competition, Łódź 2006
- Montage for Clarinet, Horn & Orchestra (1979)
- Symphony No. 1 (1980)
- TheTell-Tale Heart (Opera) (1981-3)
- Brass Etchings (1983)
- Oboe Concerto (1984–85)
- Three Madrigals for Chamber Choir (1986-8)
- Lament in Memoriam Anderson (1987)
- Hied and Seek for Soprano, Basson and Live Electronics (1987)
- Triptych for Soloists, double choir and orchestra (1989)
- Kerbcrawling for chamber ensemble (1989)
- String Quartet (1990)
- Sept Piece for Horn and Piano (1990)
- Obsessions for Flute Viola and Harp (1990)
- Oboe Quartet (1991)
- Emissary Rites, Chamber Opera for Eight Performers (1991)
- Songs My Parrot Taught Me (1992)
- The European Story, Opera (1992)
- Bastien and Bastienne Arias - Mozart, Recitatives - Geoffrey Alvarez (1993)
- The Laughing Lotus for Woodwind Quintet (1997)
- Symphony No. 2: The Five Seasons (1998)
- The Travelling Musicians a Pantomime for Wind Quintet (1999–2000)
- Psalm XXIII for soprano and piano (2000)
- My Last Muse for bass and orchestra (2000)
- Concertino: for piano and chamber orchestra (2001)
- El Duende: for tenor and piano (2002)
- Tríptico Nicaragüense: for tenor and piano
- Teares or Lamentations: Six Sundry Sights: for 10 course lute
- Magnificat: for SATB chorus (2004)
- The Old Jewish Cemetery in Lodz (2008)
- Fantasia on Tansman's Last Theme: Alla Polacca (2008)
- Symphony No. 3: El tempano (2008)
- Symphony No. 4: the Breath of Life, for thirteen winds (2009)
- Missa Regina Elissa: for chorus, timpani, organ and strings (2009)
- The Tripple Goddess, Concerto Grosso for Fluyte, Violin, Harp and Chamber Orchestra (2009)
- Symphony No. 5: Ceridwen's Cauldron for three harps and two pianos (2010)
- Symphony No 7: Hyperborea (2010)
- Hölderlinfenster, song cycle for high voice and piano (2013)
- St Paul's Shipwreck, Organ Symphony for organ and brass ensemble (2015)
Awards and honours
- Eric Coates Composition Prize, Royal Academy of Music, 1979
- Josiah Parker Composition Prize, Royal Academy of Music, 1980
- Royal Overseas League 'Bernard Shore' Composition Award 1990.
- Recommended work: I International Uuno Klami Composition Competition 2003-2004
- Fourth Prize in The Tansman 6th International Competition of Musical Personalities, Composers Competition, Łódź 2006
- "Musique sans Frontiers Composition Competition". Retrieved 24 July 2015.
- "Geoffrey Alvarez (1999). The Five Seasons: Graves's Goddess Sings. Gravesiana, Vol 2, No 2. 165-176." (PDF). Retrieved 24 July 2015.
- Tempo, no. 205 (July 1998), p 25, Cambridge University Press
- Tempo, no. 208 (April 1999), p 52, Cambridge University Press
- Tempo, no. 217 (July 2001), p 53, Cambridge University Press
- Fainlight R. Selected Poems. Sinclair-Stevenson: London 1995
- "Interview with David Bruce on Composition Today.". Retrieved 24 July 2015.