Michael Nyman

Composer Michael Nyman is primarily known in Hungary for his scores in Peter Greenway’s films. What is less widely known, mostly only among musicians, is that he not only composes opera and chamber music, but is also an outstanding musicologist. His book about the impact of experimental music and John Cage has also been translated into Hungarian. Born in London, Nyman studied the piano and composing at the Royal Conservatory. He was not much drawn to contemporary music and rejected the atonal trend headed by Schönberg which was in vogue at the time, and turned instead towards cinematographic theory. It was only 1968 that, under the influence of Steve Reich’s composition “Come Out” (especially well-known in Hungary thanks to the prodigious work of the Amadinda percussion ensemble) that he returned to composition. He became one of the main representatives of the minimalist movement, and has remained loyal to this approach. His film soundtracks are characterised by repetitions and interwoven chords, which are in fact quite similar to his earlier works as well, such as the opera The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, which was written by professor of neurology Oliver Sacks based on a case study.