John Tavener facts for kids

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John Tavener
John tavener 2005.JPG
Sir John Tavener in 2005
Born (1944-01-28)28 January 1944
Wembley, Middlesex, England
Died 12 November 2013(2013-11-12) (aged 69)
Child Okeford, Dorset, England
Nationality British
Occupation composer

Sir John Tavener (28 January 1944 – 12 November 2013) was an English composer. He is one of the most important composers of today. Most of his music is inspired by religion in some way.

John Tavener was born in Wembley, Middlesex. He went to Highgate School in North London. At school he studied piano, organ and composition and wrote music for the school orchestra. He also wrote music for the Presbyterian church where his family went and where his father was organist. In 1962 he went to the Royal College of Music where he studied the piano at first but then changed to composition.

The Beatles became interested in Tavener’s music. John Lennon liked what he heard and he decided to issue Tavener’s music on the newly formed Apple label.

Tavener became professor of composition at Trinity College. In 1977 he became a member of the Russian Orthodox Church. This changed his life. His music was very religious. He married his second wife and had two children. He was also very ill with heart trouble and even died on the operating table in hospital, but he brought back to life by the doctors.

In 1989 his work The Protecting Veil was performed at the Proms. It was a work for cello and orchestra. The cellist was Steven Isserlis. This piece is one of the best known modern works for cello. He continued to write a lot of music. His Song for Athene was performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1998. It was heard on television all over the world.

Tavener was knighted in 2000.

Tavener died on 12 November 2013 at his home in Child Okeford, Dorset from unknown causes, aged 69. Tavener suffered many health issues. He suffered two heart attack and had surgery to remove an intestinal tumor.

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