Sir Malcolm Arnold (1921 – 2006)
Sir Malcolm Arnold is one of the towering figures of the 20th century, with a remarkable catalogue of major concert works to his credit, including nine symphonies, seven ballets, two operas, one musical, over twenty concertos, two string quartets, and music for brass band and wind band. He also wrote 132 film scores, among these are some of the finest works ever composed for the medium including Bridge on the River Kwai (for which, in 1958, he was one of the first British composers ever to win an Oscar), Inn of the Sixth Happiness (for which he received an Ivor Novello Award in 1958), Hobson’s Choice and Whistle Down the Wind.
Arnold began his professional musical life in July 1941 as second trumpet with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Acknowledged as one of the finest players of the day, he eventually became the orchestra’s Principal Trumpet. In 1969 he was made a Bard of the Cornish Gorseth and was awarded the CBE in 1970. He held Honorary Doctorates of Music from the Universities of Exeter, Durham and Leicester – and in America from the Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music in 1983 as well as Hon. R.A.M. and Hon. F.T.C.L. In 1985 Malcolm Arnold received an Ivor Novello Award for ‘Outstanding Services to British Music’, the Wavendon Award in 1985, and a knighthood in the 1993 New Year’s Honours List for his services to music.
The first Arnold Festival took place in October 2006 at the Royal and Derngate Theatre in Northampton, the composer’s birthplace, and is now an important annual event in the British musical calendar.