Harrison Birtwistle

English composer (1934–2022)

Sir Harrison Paul Birtwistle CH (15 July 193418 April 2022) was an English composer who, like Peter Maxwell Davies and Alexander Goehr, first came to public attention in the 1950s as a member of the New Music Manchester group.

Harison Birtwistle


  • My attitude to writing is.. it's like when you do wallpapering, you know, you remember where all the little bits are that don't meet, you think: "Oh my God that's horrible..." And then your friends come and say: "Who did this wallpapering? It's terrific!"
  • I like to think that if music hadn't existed, I could have invented it.
    • Interviewed by Dan Warburton, July 8, 1995. [2]
  • Composing's not voluntary, you know. There's no choice, you're not free. You're landed with an idea and you have responsibility to that idea.
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