Sir Michael Tippett
Event 9
Saturday 13th October, 2:00pm 
Little Missenden Village Hall

A film and discussion

This is an archived event from the 2018 Programme.


 Oliver Soden biographer in conversation with Thomas Hyde composer

 ©Mike Evans/Bridgeman Images

Sir Michael Tippett OM first came to came to Little Missenden in 1967 to deliver the Festival Lecture The meaning of inspiration in the modern world. He returned on a number of occasions - notably during his 70th year in 1975, when he listened to a young Lindsay Quartet perform some of the music on which they were working with him at the time.

This truly great composer became the grand old man of British music in the decades before his death in 1998. But, apart from A Child of our Time, we hear far too little of his music today. We have sought to address that during this year’s Festival. For this event, we focus on the life of this fascinating man.

We begin with a film. Mischa Scorer, award-winning documentary film maker and friend of Tippett, made Poets in a Barren Age for the BBC in 1974. It’s a powerful film, which poses the question that haunted Tippett throughout his life. What useful purpose is served by the creative artist in society?

After the Mischa Scorer film, biographer Oliver Soden and composer Thomas Hyde will pick up the story. Oliver is writing the first full-length biography of Tippett – due to be published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson next year – for which he was awarded a 2017-2018 Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship in the Humanities, from the University of Texas at Austin. He is writing with the full support and approval of Schott Music, the Tippett Foundation, and the Trustees of the Michael Tippett Will Trust.

More about Michael Tippett

Read the classic April 1971 Gramophone interview here

Listen to his 80th birthday choices on Desert Island Discs (Jan 1985) here

'If Michael Tippett were alive, he would still be challenging us today' - click here to read why

Tippett's Music

Several of Tippett's works will be performed during the Festival: Sansara will sing Plebs Angelica and Steal Away Event 8; while string Quartet no5 will be the centrepiece of The Heath Quartet’s performance Event 11


Morley College Head of Music talks to Suzy Klein about Michael Tippett

Oliver Soden


Oliver was born in Bath, and educated at Lancing College, Sussex, and Clare College, Cambridge, graduating with a prize-winning double first in English. He is a writer, broadcaster, and researcher on music and the arts whose work has appeared in publications as diverse as Gramophone, The Art Newspaper and the BBC Proms guide. He has broadcast on Radio 3 for the BBC Proms, and lectured at the Royal College of Music, the Wigmore Hall, London University and the Royal Opera House. He is part of the production team behind the BBC Radio 3 programme Private Passions, and has worked as a music researcher for BBC's Britten Centenary tributes, and for the award-winning documentary film-maker John Bridcut.


Pre-order: Michael Tippett, The Biography here