Michael Blake (composer)

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Michael Blake (born 1951) is a South African contemporary classical music composer.

The composer was born in Cape Town. He studied at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and lectured at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He returned to South Africa in 1998 and settled in Grahamstown where he teaches composition and is director of the annual contemporary music festival, New Music Indaba.

At the 1999 meeting of the International Society for Contemporary Music held in Bucharest, Blake made a successful bid for South Africa's re-entry into the ISCM after an absence of nearly four decades. He was the founding President of the ISCM South African Section, NewMusicSA and continues to serve as a board member.NewMusicSA: The International Society for Contemporary Music, South African Section

His music, based on 20th-century music, is also influenced by African music.[1]

Orchestral works[edit]

  • Kwela (1992) First version: string orchestra, Second version: elastic scoring
  • Out of the Darkness (1993–94) for piano and small orchestra
  • Remix (1998) for two solo violins and string orchestra

Chamber music[edit]

  • Self Delectative Songs (1986)
  • Cum martelli incrudena (1987)
  • The Seasons (1987–88)
  • Quartet for Flute and Strings (1989; rev.1999)
  • Quintet for Basset Clarinet and String Quartet (1990) for classical or modern instruments
  • Let us run out of the rain (1991) for string quartet
  • Mysteries (in memoriam J C) (1993) for four percussionists
  • Carpet of Memory (1994/1996/1998) for voice-flute, bass viol and harpsichord or flute/violin, cello and piano
  • Offering for seven baroque instruments and electric guitar

Instrumental works[edit]

  • Spirit (1985) for flute solo
  • Honey Gathering Song (1989) for flute and piano or harpsichord
  • Hindewhu (1989–90) for two classical or modern clarinets in Bb or soprano saxophones
  • Leaf Carrying Song (1991–93) for oboe d'amore (or alto flute) and ten-string guitar
  • Three Venda Children’s Songs (1996) for guitar
  • Birthday Fanfare (1998) for four tubas or tuba and tape
  • Untitled (2000) for clarinet in A and piano
  • Isicamngco (2001) for saxophone quartet (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone)

Keyboard music[edit]

  • Gang o'Notes for prepared piano
  • Let us run out of the rain (1986; rev.1993) for two to play at one piano or harpsichord
  • Thirteen Inventions (1988) for two pianos
  • Hommage à MDCLXXXV (1985; rev.1994) for harpsichord (in meantone tuning ad lib)
  • Cadenzas for Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor K466 (1994)
  • French Suite (1994) for piano
  • A Toy (1995) for piano
  • Reverie (1995–96; rev. 1999) for two pianos
  • San Polyphony (1998; rev. 1999/2001) for organ
  • More Toys (Nos. 1 & 2) (1997) for piano
  • 38a Hill Street Blues (2000) for piano
  • BWV Fragments (1999) for keyboard (piano, harpsichord, clavichord or organ)
  • Nightsongs (1997/99) for piano

Choral music[edit]

  • Beamish Grace (1988; rev.1989) SAB a cappella
  • Five Traditional Animal Poems of the Khoikhoi (1992) SATB a cappella
  • Carol of the Three Outas (1993) Soprano solo and SSA a cappella
  • The Ballad of Poui (1994) Cantata for soloists, SSAA and two percussionists

Film music[edit]

  • Film Music: *The Furiosus (1998) for string quartet
  • Erotikon (2000) Score for the 1929 silent film by Gustav Machaty for flute, bass clarinet, viola and piano


  1. ^ Stephanus Muller, "Miniature Blueprints, spider stratagems:: a Michael Blake retrospective at 60" The Musical Times Winter 2011 Ebsco link

External links[edit]