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Param Vir

Indian composer living in United Kingdom, born 6 February, 1952, in Delhi

Born in Delhi, Param Vir first studied philosophy in his hometown. His early attempts at composing and theatrical music caught the eye of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who offered him a scholarship to attend the Dartington Summer School of Music in 1983. Encouraged by Maxwell Davies, Param Vir moved to London in 1984, where he studied composition with Oliver Knussen.

Since then, he has written a significant body of instrumental and vocal works which have been widely performed in London and elsewhere. In 1986, he was an associate composer at Tanglewood Music Centre, and in 1987, was composer-in-residence at the India Festival in Geneva. He also participated in the Donaueschingen and Witten Festivals in Germany, and Aldeburgh in England.

He has received numerous prizes, including the Kucyna International Composition Prize (Boston), Benjamin Britten Composition Prize (Aldeburgh), PRS Composition Prize, Tippett Composition Award and a Maria Strecker-Daelen Fondation Prize. His works have been performed by Asko Ensemble, London Sinfonietta, London Sinfonietta Voices, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Lontano.

His two chambre operas, Snatched by the Gods (1992) and Broken Strings (1992), both of which were commissioned by Hans Werner Henze for the Munich Biennale, were performed to great acclaim by Pierre Audi and the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam and Munich in May, 1992. These works earned Vir an Ernst Von Siemens Foundation Prize in 1993. In the same year, the Park Lane Group performed his work for solo guitar, Clear Light, Magic Body (1993) at the South Bank Centre in London. His work for orchestra, Horse Tooth White Rock (1994), commissioned by the BBC Philharmonic, was premiered in March, 1994, with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies conducting. The piece was performed in Germany the following month in the opening concert of the Munich Biennale by the Bayerischer Rundfunks Orchestra.

Other works of note include Tender Light (1996) for viola da gamba and The Comfort of Angels (1996) for two pianos, both of which were premiered at the Oberlin Conservatory. Param Vir is currently working on a large-scale opera in collaboration with stage director, David Rudkin.

After having taught composition for four years at Oberlin Conservatory, Param Vir returned to London, where he currently lives. The British premieres of his two chambre operas, Snatched by the Gods and Broken Strings took place at the Almeida Opera Festival in July, 1996.

His works are published by Chester Editions.


© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2002