Lyell Cresswell

Scottish Music Centre

Lyell Cresswell (b. 1944) - Full biography

Lyell Cresswell

Lyell Cresswell was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on 13th October 1944. He studied in Wellington, Toronto, Aberdeen and Utrecht. After some teaching at the University of Glasgow he joined Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff as Music Organiser (1978-80). He returned to Scotland as Forman Fellow in Composition at Edinburgh University until 1982 and spent the next three years as Cramb Fellow in Composition at the University of Glasgow. In 1978 he won the Ian Whyte Award for the orchestral work Salm, and in 1979 received the APRA Silver Scroll for his contribution to New Zealand music. His works have been recommended by the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in 1979, 1981 and 1988. Since 1985 he has been a full-time composer based in Edinburgh. He is one of the artistic directors of ECAT (Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust). Since 1985 he has been a full-time composer based in Edinburgh.

Lyell Cresswell's music has been featured at many festivals around the world, including: Musica Nova, Glasgow 1984; Sonorities Festival of Twentieth Century Music Belfast 1985; BBC Proms 1989 and 1995; Asian Music Festival, Tokyo 1990; New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, Wellington 1990 and 2002; St Magnus Festival, Orkney 1991; Musica Insieme, Bologna 1992; Academy Now! Festival, Glasgow 1993; Middleburgh Festival 1993; Festival of the Asian Composers' League, Taipei 1994; Lyell Cresswell is Fifty Festival at the Tramway, Glasgow 1994; in February 1996 at the Concerti Aperitivo, Teatro Comunale, Modena; Musica del Siglo XX, Gijon, 1998; and at the Federico Garcia Lorca festival, Bologna 1998.

He has been a guest of the Warsaw Autumn Festival 1985, the Philippine-Asian Music Festival, Manila 1988, guest lecturer at L'Accademia di Brera, Milan 1987 and L'Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna 1994, and artistic director of the New Zealand, New Music Festival in Edinburgh in 1998 and 2001. In 2001 he received a Scottish Arts Council Award to create a work of music theatre, in collaboration with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, involving issues of exile and identity. In 2002 he was awarded an honorary D. Mus degree by Victoria University of Wellington (N.Z.) and the inaugural Elgar Bursary.

Lyell Cresswell's output comprises works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, choir, voice and solo instruments. Orchestral works include concertos for cello (commissioned for Musica Nova, Glasgow, 1984), accordion (commissioned for the BBC Proms, 1995), string quartet (commissioned by the City of Aberdeen, 1996), trombone (commissioned by the SCO, 1997), violin and soprano (commissioned by the BBC, 2001) and chamber orchestra (commissioned by the SCO, 2002). Other large-scale orchestral works are A Modern Ecstasy (commissioned anonymously in 1986), Voices of Ocean Winds (commissioned by Radio New Zealand in 1989) and Ylur (commissioned by the St Magnus Festival in 1991).