Michael Finnissy gained a Foundation Scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music, where his principal teacher was Bernard Stevens. He also studied in Italy, and on his return formed a Music Department at the London School of Contemporary Dance, teaching there until 1974. He also worked as a freelance opera repetiteur and accompanied a number of dance companies: Nederlands Dans Theater, LCDT, Strider, and Siobhan Davies’ Dance Company. He then started to teach, at Dartington Summer School, at Chelsea College of Art, at the Royal Academy of Music, and then at the universities of Sussex and Southampton (where he is currently Professor and Chair of Composition), and at the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven (Belgium).
His current publisher is Verlag Neue Musik Gmbh (Berlin), although he also has works with OUP, Universal, UMP, Ricordi (Deutschland) and Edizioni Suvini Zerboni. His music is available on NMC Recordings, Métier Divine Art CD and numerous other labels.
Beat Generation Ballads is written for solo piano and was commissioned (with funds from the Britten-Pears Foundation) for a programme in honour of American composer Christian Wolff’s 80th birthday.
It received its world premiere on 22nd November 2014 at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival St Paul’s Hall by pianist Philip Thomas