A new biography of Sir Michael Tippett by writer and broadcaster Oliver Soden has been announced. Due to be published in 2019 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, the book will provide context for Tippett’s evolving and varied music, situating him within the wider musical, social and political narrative of the 21st century.
Soden’s authorised biography will also tell the full “dramatic” story of Tippett’s life, from his often turbulent childhood through to his old age, in which he developed a keen interest in popular culture while managing ill health. It covers his political activism, his experiences during two world wars, his relationships with men and women and his work’s open portrayal of homosexuality at a time when it remained illegal.
The Tippett Estate, the Tippett Foundation, and Tippett’s partner (Meirion Bowen) have given their full support to the book, and will open a number of private archives for the first time, allowing use of letters, manuscript scores, and private audiotapes as well as a number of never-before-seen photographs, an unpublished memoir by Tippett and his brother, and newly discovered correspondence and music manuscripts.
Believing a full-length biography to be well overdue, Soden comments: “Michael Tippett has been a passion since my schooldays and I am thrilled, honoured and not a little daunted to have become his biographer.”