Ian Balfour (b. 1924) - Home
Born 21st December 1924 - a very suitable day as it is the Winter Solstice thus explaining his love of northern countries and their composers. On his mother’s side Walter Scott was a kinsman while on his father’s side Stevenson was one. The sole work based on Scott is his Eight portraits from the Waverley novels for solo oboe (c.1984) while his Clarinet Concerto (1998) derives from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He has set words to neither of these authors; rather is it the poetry of Soutar that has drawn forth two song-cycles, one for tenor and guitar, the other for soprano and ensemble as well as several individual settings or voice and orchestra. His wife’s Dundas ancestry has led him to incorporate the reel Miss Dundas of Arniston as the last movement of his Suite No.2 for cello.
His compositions include eight operas which include the gothic/horror, contemporary/realist, comedy and fairy-tale subjects – anything other than ancient myths and legends: six symphonies, and numerous orchestral, vocal, chamber and instrumental pieces. In 2000 his orchestral jeu d’esprit entitled Millennium Surprise, lasting nine minutes and based on the slow movements of Haydn’s Symphony No.94, was heard in Hungary, Bratislava, Hanover, Leipzig, Prague, Moscow and Togliatti, the latter performance given as part of the Anglo-Russian trade gathering.