Oliver Soden (17 February)
Still hardly out of his twenties, the prodigious writer and broadcaster, Oliver Soden is the author of Michael Tippett: The Biography, one of the most scholarly, readable and significant biographies of a musician to be published in the last two decades. It has already achieved huge success since Oliver himself read from it as Radio 4’s Book of the Week earlier this year, with Derek Jacobi as the voice of Tippett. Growing up in Bath and Sussex, now living in London, Oliver was educated at Lancing College in Sussex and at Clare College, Cambridge where he took a double first in English. His essays and reviews have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The Guardian, Literary Review, Gramophone, The Art Newspaper, BBC Music Magazine and Musical Quarterly. He is the editor of an edition of John Barton’s ten-play epic Tantalus. Guest appearances on radio and television include Proms Plus, Twenty Minutes, Radio 3’s Music Matters, Composer of the Week and Live in Concert, and he has worked as an assistant producer for several award-winning television documentaries, including George II: The Genius of the Mad King and John Bridcut’s BBC4 film Janet Baker In Her Own Words. He is also part of the team behind Radio 3’s long-running programme presented by Michael Berkeley, Private Passions.
Oliver is currently working on a biography, the first in a quarter-century, of Noël Coward, with the full authorisation of the Coward Estate and unrestricted archival access. Copies of Oliver’s biography of Tippett will be on sale this evening, and with tonight’s interviewer David Cairns (who worked at Philips Records during Sir Colin Davis’s recordings of Tippett’s music in the 1970s), this promises to be a fascinating evening.