Param Vir

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Param Vir (born 1952) is a British composer originally from India.

Born in Delhi into a family life permeated with Indian classical music, Param Vir's strong interest in music developed as a teenager when attending a Roman Catholic secondary school and had informal lessons from composer Hans-Joachim Koellreutter, then resident in India.[1][2] With no prospects as a composer in India, he read history and philosophy at Delhi University, but returned to music on graduation in 1974 as a teacher.[2] From 1983 Vir studied composition at Dartington with Peter Maxwell Davies and at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Oliver Knussen.[1][2] In 1986 Vir was a composition fellow and Tanglewood. The following year he was a featured composer in the Festival of India in Geneva. [3]

His works include Horse Tooth White Rock (1994) and the operas Snatched by the Gods and Broken Strings (a double bill commissioned for the Munich Biennale of 1992), and Ion, given at the Aldeburgh Festival in 2000. He has won, among other prizes, the Tippett Award and the Britten Prize.

Career highlights[edit]

  • 1983 - attended Dartington International Summer School on a scholarship.
  • 1984 - moved to London to study with Oliver Knussen.
  • 1987 - awarded Benjamin Britten Composition Prize.
  • 1993 - Pierre Audi production of Broken Strings wins Ernst von Siemens Music Prize for young composers (Munich).
  • 2003 - first full production of Ion tours Europe.
  • 2005 - Horse Tooth White Rock performed at the BBC Proms.
  • 2005 - Hayagriva commissioned and premiered by the Schoenberg Ensemble in Amsterdam
  • 2006 - Between Earth and Sky, inspired by Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London

Selected works[edit]

Stage works[edit]

Premiere Title Description Libretto and source
19920511a11 May 1992, De Nederlandse Opera, Amsterdam Snatched by the Gods Opera in one act, 55' William Radice, after the poem Debatar Gras by Rabindranath Tagore
19920511b11 May 1992, De Nederlandse Opera, Amsterdam Broken Strings Opera in one act, 60'. (revised 1995) David Rudkin, after an ancient Buddhist tale Guttil Jatak
2000060909 Jun 2000, Aldeburgh Festival/ Almeida Opera Ion Opera in 4 scenes with Prologue, 120' David Lan, after Euripides
2008102424 Oct 2008, De Toneelschuur, Haarlem Black Feather Rising Music Theatre for 2 Singers and 6 Instrumentalists, 90' David Rudkin, after folklore collection Healers on the Mountain by Teresa Pijoan


  • Before Krishna (1987; string orchestra)
  • Horse Tooth White Rock (1994; orchestra)
  • Ultimate Words: Infinite Song (1997; baritone, six percussion, piano)
  • The Theatre of Magical Beings (2003; large ensemble)
  • Hayagriva (2005; large ensemble)
  • Between Earth and Sky (2006; orchestra)
  • Cave of Luminous Mind (2013; orchestra) BBC commission for 2013 Proms

Selected recordings[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Param Vir". Novello & Co, London. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "RASALÎLA - Spiel der Gefühle" (in German). Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. 2003. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Vir, Param". Malcolm Miller. "Vir, Param." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 11 Jan. 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 

External links[edit]