Geoffrey Álvarez

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Geoffrey Alvarez
Portrait Photograph by Malcolm Crowthers
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.[1] He is also a writer on music and inventor of Gravesian Analysis.[2]

Education and work[edit]

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[3] and Alexander Goehr Arianna (Goehr).[4] His own work (his setting of Psalm XXIII in Hebrew) was reviewed in the same publication by Mark R. Taylor.[5]

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.[6]

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[7]

Selected works[edit]


  • 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[edit]

  • 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


  1. ^ "Musique sans Frontiers Composition Competition". Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Geoffrey Alvarez (1999). The Five Seasons: Graves's Goddess Sings. Gravesiana, Vol 2, No 2. 165-176" (PDF). Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  3. ^ Tempo, no. 205 (July 1998), p 25, Cambridge University Press
  4. ^ Tempo, no. 208 (April 1999), p 52, Cambridge University Press
  5. ^ Tempo, no. 217 (July 2001), p 53, Cambridge University Press
  6. ^ Fainlight R. Selected Poems. Sinclair-Stevenson: London 1995
  7. ^ "Interview with David Bruce on Composition Today". Retrieved 24 July 2015.

External links[edit]