malcolm lipkin, composer

photograph of Malcolm LipkinMalcolm Lipkin first came to prominence in 1951, when, at the age of nineteen, he played his Third Piano Sonata at the Gaudeamus Foundation Music Week in Holland and, in the following year, at a Macnaghten Concert in London. Performances of his Fourth Piano Sonata by Peter Katin, and the Piano Concerto by Lamar Crowson and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, both at Cheltenham Festivals in the 1950s, helped to establish his reputation; while his First Violin Sonata, given in London in 1958 by Yfrah Neaman and Howard Ferguson, has since enjoyed over one hundred performances worldwide.

Yfrah Neaman commissioned his Violin Concerto No.2, giving its first performance with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Constantin Silvestri in 1963. Three years later, Lipkin's Sinfonia di Roma (Symphony No.1) was premiered by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Sir Charles Groves. In 1969 he was commissioned by the John Lewis Partnership to write a setting of Psalm 96 for chorus and orchestra, first performed in London that year under the direction of Myer Fredman.

During the past decade his works have attained greater recognition following the success of The Pursuit (Symphony No.2), first performed in Manchester in 1983. Commissions from the BBC for his Wind Quintet (1985), written for the Nash Ensemble, and his Oboe Concerto of 1989 further enhanced his reputation, as did a Hyperion record of the octet Clifford's Tower and other chamber works, played by the Nash Ensemble. In 1993 Sun (Symphony No.3) was given by the BBC Philharmonic, an orchestra which has now publicly performed all three of his symphonies.

A steady flow of chamber and instrumental works has included the Fifth Piano Sonata (1986), Prelude and Dance for Cello and Piano, written in memory of Jacqueline du Pré and premiered by Robert Cohen and Alan Gravill at the City of London Festival in 1988, and the Piano Trio (1988), which was commissioned by the English Piano Trio and first performed by them at the Purcell Room. They have also recorded the work on CD.

His Variations on a theme of Bartók for String Quartet, one of his major chamber works, was first heard at the 1992 Newbury Spring Festival, played by the Delmé Quartet, who have also broadcast the work. In the same year his Dance Fantasy for Solo Violin was the test piece commissioned for the Carl Flesch International Violin Competition; and the First Violin Sonata and Third Piano Sonata were played at the Cheltenham International Festival.

1993 saw the composition of Five Bagatelles for Oboe and Piano, written for Nicholas Daniel and Julius Drake and performed by them in London at the Wigmore Hall. In 1995 he completed his Duo for Violin and Cello for another small but greatly valued part of the concert repertoire.

Among other creative interests is music for young people. He was commissioned to write The Knight of the Grail for the New London Children's Choir, first performed at St James's, Piccadilly.

His latest orchestral work, From Across La Manche, commissioned by the Primavera Chamber Orchestra in 1998, received seven very successful performances by them on a tour of South-East England and Northern France. Also in 1998, his Fifth Piano Sonata was given a second London performance by its dedicatee, Jeremy Carter, at the Wigmore Hall.

Another piano work, Nocturne No.2, was given at the Pianoworks '99 Festival in Blackheath, where it was played by Kathryn Stott, for whom it was written. On this occasion she also played his Nocturne No.1, written to celebrate the 75th birthday of the legendary Eileen Joyce, and both these performances were subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Lipkin's latest piano work, Nocturne No.4, was recently premiered by Stephen Coombs in Brighton.

His Second Violin Sonata, commissioned for Levon Chilingirian and Clifford Benson by Green Room Music, Royal Tunbridge Wells, and first performed in 1998 in Tunbridge Wells, has since been heard at the Lichfield Festival and in London.

You can contact Malcolm Lipkin at