The English composer, Robin (Greville) Holloway, was born in Leamington Spa, where his parents, both trained as artists, were stationed as part of the wartime camouflage operation. Thence Walsall, and from the late 1940's, South London. From 1953 to 1957 he was chorister at St Paul's Cathedral. He studied composition privately with Alexander Goehr from 1959 to 1963, and was further educated at King's College School Wimbledon. He read English at King's College Cambridge, changing to Music in his third year (1961-1964). In 1965 he enrolled at New College Oxford, to begin doctorate on Debussy and Wagner (1971, eventually published as a book). He had Studentship (1967) then Research Fellowship (1969) at Caius College, Cambridge. In 1974 he received Assistant Lectureship (at the fifth attempt!) at Cambridge Music Faculty; full Lectureship from 1980; Readership in Musical Composition from 1999, Professorship in Musical Composition 2001.
Musical composition is the raison d'etre. Copious splurging from the St Paul's days, drying out mid-teens to early twenties, picking up thereafter and gradually developing an individual voice. His output is notable for its remarkable command of various styles and genres. While he has tended along tonal paths, he is not averse to non-tonal and constructivist techniques. He has also made much use of "objets trouvés".
Some landmarks: First Concerto for Orchestra (1966-9);Scenes from Schumann (1970); Domination of Black (1973-4); Clarissa (1976); Second Concerto for Orchestra (1978-9); Brand (1981);Seascape and Harvest (1983-4);Peer Gynt (1984-97);The Spacious Firmament (1990);Boys and Girls Come out to Play (1991);Third Concerto for Orchestra (1981-94);Scenes from Antwerp (1997);Symphony (1996-9);1st String Quartet (2003); 2nd String Quartet (2004); Fourth Concerto for Orchestra (2003-5). Plus numerous songs, concertos, pieces for chorus, for ensemble, and for small orchestra.
Robin Holloway has also done much journalism and broadcasting - frequent articles and book reviews in e.g., T.L.S., Tempo,Musical Times;from 1988 a monthly music column in the Spectator. Also contributions to rather more up-market education symposia on, e.g., Wagner, Strauss, Alban Berg, Benjamin Britten, Haydn, Janacek, Debussy, Edward Elgar.