Alun Hoddinott was born in Bargoed in 1929. He was educated at Gowerton Grammar School and University College, Cardiff and had composition lessons in London with Arthur Benjamin. His works were already being performed and broadcast while he was still a student. He came to national prominence when his “Clarinet Concerto No. 1” (1949) was given its first public performance at the 1954 Cheltenham Festival by Gervase de Peyer and the Halle conducted by Barbirolli.
He has composed eight symphonies (the eighth, for brass and percussion which premiered in Cardiff in September 1993), ten piano sonatas, five operas (two for television and four with leading parts for Sir Geraint Evans), concertos for all instruments, and a wide range of vocal, choral, instrumental, chamber and orchestral music. Alun Hoddinott’s works are all written to commission and are performed world-wide. Recent notable premieres have been the “Flute Sonata” at the 1991 Harrogate International Festival and the “Violin Sonata No. 5” in New York. The “Piano Sonata No. 9” (heard at the 1989 Cheltenham Festival when he was composer-in-residence) has very recently been played in Miami and Louisiana.
In May 1992 his specially composed “May Song” was performed at the Garden Festival Wales in the presence of HRH THe Prince of Wales. He has also composed a major work for Dame Gwyneth Jones. Many of his works have been recorded commercially including thee “Symphony No. 6”, “Scena for Strings”, “A Contemplation upon Flowers” and “Lanterne des Morts” in 1989. The great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich recorded “Noctis Equi”, which was written for him in 1989, with the London Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano. The “Star Children”, heard at the 1989 Proms was recorded by the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra and Tadaaki Otaka. “Three Advent Carols” have been issued on a disc by the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, directed by George Guest.