Renowned British composer Jonathan Dove is to receive a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to music, ahead of his 60th Birthday on 18 July 2019.
Few contemporary composers have such universal appeal or have done more to further the cause of modern opera than Jonathan Dove. His comic operatic masterpiece Flight, commissioned by Glyndebourne in 1998 with a libretto by April De Angelis, was described as "the Figaro of our time" by Hugh Canning in The Sunday Times and has gone on to become one of the most performed contemporary operas of the past two decades.
Dove's continued enthusiasm, talent and energy for working with children, young people and communities to create engaging works has led to commissions from choirs, orchestras and opera companies around the world. His latest community opera with librettist Alasdair Middleton, The Monster in the Maze (2015), was commissioned by Sir Simon Rattle, Simon Halsey and the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra and Aix-en-Provence Festival and further productions have engaged communities across the globe.
As Guest Festival Director of Salisbury International Arts Festival, Jonathan Dove is currently in Wiltshire for the final weekend of the festival, which includes the world premiere of Vertue by the vocal ensemble Voces8 (with whom Dove is currently Composer in Residence). Themed on the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, the festival also opened with Moon Songs, a new work by Dove for school children to perform in Salisbury Cathedral. Dove commenced his full-time professional compositional career 30 years ago as Musician in Residence at the 1989 Festival.
This summer sees a revival of Dove's comic opera Mansfield Park at Waterperry Opera Festival in Oxfordshire, described as a "total joy, by turns laugh-out-loud funny and shed-a-tear sad". A new choral work titled We Are One Fire premieres at the BBC Proms on 19 August with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
Jonathan Dove's latest opera – Marx in London (with a libretto by Charles Hart after an original scenario by Jürgen Weber) – premiered in Bonn in December 2018 and will receive its UK premiere as part of Scottish Opera's 2020-21 season. The latest disc of music by Jonathan Dove was released by Orchid Classics in May, featuring symphonic works by the composer, including Airport Scenes with music from his opera Flight, and Gaia Theory, which picks up on the theme of wonder of the earth and its self-regulating balance as espoused by James Lovelock.
During his early career at Glyndebourne three decades ago, Jonathan Dove was tasked with finding a new way to involve the local community in the creation of new opera. This took him to prisons, schools, and colleges working with all age groups and shaped his artistic development, putting children and amateur choirs and orchestras at the heart of many of his compositions. His works for children and family audiences have since included The Enchanted Pig (commissioned by the Young Vic in 2006 with libretto by Alasdair Middleton) and the Adventures of Pinocchio (commissioned by Opera North and Sadler's Wells Theatre in 2007 with libretto by Alasdair Middleton).
Jonathan Dove said: "Writing music for children, young people and the community to sing and play is truly one of the great joys in my life. It's particularly rewarding to bring amateurs and professionals together. I am delighted to receive this honour and pleased that music and creativity has been recognised as important to all of us."
Nicholas Riddle, CEO at Edition Peters, commented: "For 30 years Jonathan has composed a rich body of music that gets performed again and again. His work has delighted and engaged performers and audiences of all ages, especially children and young people for whom he has written many wonderful scores."