(born in Berlin
, 5 April 1936
) is an English composer
and musical performer.
White trained and taught at the London Royal College of Music
. He is a skilled pianist and tuba
player and has written extensively for both instruments.
In the 1960s and 1970s he was closely associated with, and influenced by, English experimental composers such as Cornelius Cardew, Howard Skempton and Gavin Bryars. His pupils have included Roger Smalley, Brian Dennis and William York.
White invented the early British form of minimalism known as Systems music, with his early Machines. His association with younger composers, including Christopher Hobbs, Dave Smith, Benedict Mason, and John Lely has led to many British ensembles, including the Promenade Theatre Orchestra, Hobbs-White Duo, Garden Furniture Music, the Farewell Symphony Orchestra and other groups.
As at May 2008, White has written 164 piano sonatas
, 21 symphonies
, 30 ballets
, and much incidental music
for the stage, all in a highly eclectic style (or, more accurately, range of styles). His stage music includes commissions by the Royal Shakespeare Company
and the Royal National Theatre
. Amongst those influencing his music he acknowledges Erik Satie
, Charles Valentin Alkan
. His recent projects include a set of song cycles
, one of which consists of settings of friends' addresses.