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Born in London in 1951, Philip Sawyers studied violin with Colin Sauer, Joan Spencer and Max Rostal, and composition with Helen Glatz (a pupil of Vaughan Williams and Bartok), with guidance from Buxton Orr, Patric Standford and Edmund Rubbra. Between 1973-1997 he was a member of the Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden. He now works as a violinist, composer, and teacher. The Symphony was commissioned by the Grand Rapids Symphony for their 75th anniversary season in 2005.
“[Grand Rapids] stands up as a remarkable achievement for a student composer of barely 21. There's some Shostakovich in there too, and, like his models, Sawyer's discourse is well paced and logical, but with an unexpected soft ending...Sawyers has provided repertoire works and their viability is being recoginsed in performances.”
“I very much hope that this record marks the acceptance of Philip Sawyer as one of this country's most gifted contemporary composers...It is an extraordinarily impressive disc; the playing is of a very high standard and...one can sense the commitment and interpretative gifts of the conductor, who is clearly in full command of his musicians. They respond superbly, as they should, for Sawyer's music is very fine indeed.”