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Clifford Abbott (1916-1994) : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Concerto for flute and orchestra, no.2 : flute with orchestra by Clifford Abbott, from the CD Works by Clifford Abbott.


Photo of Clifford Abbott

Clifford Abbott was born in 1916 in Invercargill, New Zealand. He studied music and the Classics at Canterbury College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Diploma of Music in 1947. In 1948 he began private studies in composition with Sir Gordon Jacob, Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music, London, and with Benjamin Frankel. He returned to New Zealand in 1950 and spent 1950 to 1954 studying contemporary technique while working in a factory in Christchurch.

His first completed work was Symphony No. 1 (1954) followed by Lento (1955), a tone poem, which was subsequently performed by Nicolai Malko with Australian and New Zealand Orchestras. Further works were performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and in 1961-'63 he turned his attention to studying atonal methods in the composition of Schoenberg, Rufer and Krenek. Abbott's own music did not pursue this avenue. His 'light orchestral work', Martin Place Midday, was recorded by EMI and this and subsequent Suites by the same name were performed for the ABC, conducted by Stanford Robinson. Important works by Abbot include his Concerto No. 1 for flute and orchestra performed by James Galway and Louis Fremaux with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; flute and harp works recorded by 2MBS-FM; Decision for orchestra (1972); Elements (1976) for orchestra; Conflict and Resolution (1978) for orchestra - all works combining orchestra with electronic devices. After the latter work his thesis embodying his principles of musical construction was sent to Herbert van Karajan.

Conductors of Abbott's works have included Patrick Thomas, Matthew Krel with the SBS Radio and TV Youth Orchestra recording of Concerti No. 3 and 4, also Rudolf Prekarek, Ezra Rachlin, Tommy Tycho and aforementioned Louis Fremaux, Nicolai Malko and Stanford Robinson. Abbott lectured and taught privately and was inspired to write many children's pieces and song books.

Clifford Abbott died in April 1994.