Vernon Fish, Adrian

Adrian Vernon Fish has established an international reputation as a composer of insight, deep sensibilities, and eclectic tastes. By the time he was twenty-one, Adrian had composed over two hundred works, but in a radical rethink of his technique, and under pressure from his professors Alan Ridout and Herbert Howells, destroyed his entire output in the autumn of 1977. He has been prolific since that day, and his output once again now stands at over two hundred works, including twelve symphonies and other major works.

The late Alan Ridout, composer and Adrian’s mentor, described Adrian as having “his own vision”. He said that Adrian is “capable of turning out pieces from the simple and practical to the virtuosic and high-flown”. Many of his chamber works from the mid-1980s, for example Trisagion, Moraine, and the chamber opera Hawker, show an affinity with the music of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. His wind music belies a love of the music of Poulenc, while his more recent concert works owe much to the visionary concepts of American composer Alan Hovhaness, whose music Adrian has studied in particular detail. Hovhaness has described Adrian’s music as having “an innate spirituality”.

The icy vastness of Greenland has been a major source of inspiration and Adrian has undertaken eleven concert tours of that amazing land since 1991. The enormous vistas and wide skies, particularly in the far north of Greenland, give one a sense of one’s own mortality and insignificance, and this has been a major factor in the essence of many recent works.

In August 2008, Adrian married mezzo-soprano Margaret Probyn. He currently devotes most of his non-composing time to giving talks about the Inuit (native people) of Greenland. He lives in the remote north west of County Mayo, Ireland.

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