• Born 1959
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With a style that draws on minimalism as well as established traditions, Jonathan Dove has been one of contemporary Britain's most prolific composers of opera and music in other dramatic forms, as well as orchestral and chamber music.
Dove was born to two architect parents in London on July 18, 1959. He studied piano, organ, and viola as a young man, but switched to composition at Cambridge, working with Robin Holloway. Another formative experience was a stint as a freelance arranger and accompanist in the 1980s, working at various opera houses and theaters. For a time, beginning in 1987, he was on the staff at the Glyndebourne Opera, an association that led to commissions for several small community operas and orchestration projects, as well as a wind octet intended for insertion into an outdoor production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. This hands-on musical education culminated in the commission from Glyndebourne for Flight, a comic opera set in an airport, in 1998. It has become one of the most often performed of all contemporary operas, and in 2006 it spawned Airport Scenes, an orchestral suite.
Flight would be the first of more than 20 Dove operas, covering sources as varied as Pinocchio (The Adventures of Pinocchio, 2007), the Jane Austen novel Mansfield Park (2011), and the Spanish dramatist Pedro Calderón de la Barca (Life Is a Dream, 2012), ranging from comedy to extreme seriousness. Dove has also written a substantial amount of choral music, including a Missa brevis and The Passing of the Year, a choral song cycle composed to mark the turning of the millennium. Dove is the composer of the flute concerto The Magic Flute Dances and of a concerto for piano and string quintet. The latter work was included on a mixed vocal-and-instrumental album of 2017 featuring Dove's In Damascus, a song cycle for tenor and string quartet, setting works by a Syrian poet on the subject of the country's civil war and refugee crisis. Dove has spearheaded performances of his operatic and choral works by community groups and youth choirs in addition to professional musicians and singers.