June 10, 1960 -
born in Grays, Essex, composed during the Contemporary period
Best described as eclectic, Turnage's highly energetic style is infused with influences from jazz, rock, and European modernism. His output includes symphonic, chamber, and operatic works, all of which demonstrate a keen sense of drama, and an ability to clarify the most complex of textures. He is best known for his opera, Greek, which has received frequent productions, including one televised by the BBC.
Born in Essex in 1960, Turnage studied at the Royal College of Music -- most notably with Oliver Knussen -- and then at Tanglewood with Gunther Schuller and Hans Werner Henze. Henze's influence led to an opera commission for the 1988 Munich Biennale. The result of that commission, Greek -- based on Steven Berkoff's incendiary play of the same title -- was an unqualified success, and it established Turnage on the international scene. In October 1989, Turnage began a lasting relationship with the City of Birmingham Symphony and its conductor, Simon Rattle, with the premiere of his Three Screaming Popes. After a four-year term as Composer in Association with Birmingham, Turnage took on a similar role at the English National Opera, where he also became Artistic Consultant to their Contemporary Opera Studio. 1996 saw the London premiere of his jazz-inspired Blood on the Floor by Ensemble Modern, and in 1997 his works, Twice Through the Heart and The Country of the Blind, opened the 50th Anniversary Aldeburgh Festival. ~ Allen Schrott, Rovi