Papers of Professor Peter Dickinson relating to his work on 'Larkin's Jazz'

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Material including musical score and a recording on CD, relating to the composition of a piece entitled 'Larkin's Jazz' by composer Peter Dickinson

Administrative / Biographical History

Peter Dickinson was born in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire on 15 November 1934. He was Organ Scholar at Queen's College, Cambridge and then spent three years in New York (1958-1961) working as a critic, teacher and freelance performer. He returned to England in 1962 and established courses in experimental music at the College of St Mark and St John, Chelsea.

He held a number of academic posts including lecturer at Birmingham (1966-1970) and was the first Professor of Music at Keele University (1974-84) where he started the Department with its Centre for American Music. He was the first Chair at Goldsmiths College, University of London (1991-97) and was Head of Music at the Institute of United States Studies, University of London (1997-2004).

In 1980 he was a founding member of the Association of Professional Composers and the following year was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Royal Society of Musicians since 1985. He is chair of the Bernarr Rainbow Trust, a charity set up in 1997 for the benefit of music education. Dickinson has been an active pianist with numerous recitals, broadcasts and recordings through a twenty-five-year partnership with his sister, the mezzo Meriel Dickinson. His literary interests have led him to using the work of poets including Auden, Dylan Thomas, Emily Dickinson, Philip Larkin and Stevie Smith ('Stevie's Tunes' was premiered in 1985).

See U DX343/2 for a detailed account of his inspiration for Larkin's Jazz and why he included spoken extracts from Larkin's work instead of vocal performance. Dickinson's music has been regularly performed and recorded by some of the leading musicians. He has written widely including for numerous books and periodicals and for over thirty years he was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3.

Larkin's Jazz (which is 24 minutes long on the CD) was first performed by the Nash Ensemble with Henry Herford conducted by Lionel Friend at Keele University on 5 February 1990 (see U DX343/6 for a CD recording of this performance)

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Deposited by Professor Peter Dickinson on the 19th January 2011

Related Material

Papers of Philip Arthur Larkin [Ref U DPL] include correspondence and articles relating to jazz

Settings of Philip Larkin by Brian Blyth Daubney [Ref U DX358]

Poem 'The North Ship' set to music by composer William Beckmann [Ref U DX310]