Leading British composer and conductor Oliver Knussen has died unexpectedly at the age of 66, his publishers have announced.

“Faber Music is deeply saddened to announce the death of Oliver Knussen, our beloved House Composer of over 40 years,” they said. “Knussen was one of the world’s most eminent and influential composer-conductors and leaves behind him a body of work of crystalline concision, complexity and richness. His impact on the musical community – both in the UK and around the world – was extraordinary, and is a testament to his great generosity and curiosity as a musician, as well as his unfailing love and deep knowledge of the art form.”

A highly regarded composer, Knussen famously suffered intermittently from writer’s block and was a ruthless suppressor of his own music when he felt it didn’t come up to scratch. He still, however, leaves behind a respectable legacy of over 30 musical opuses. As a conductor, he championed a wide range of modern (and not so modern) composers and was a regular presence in the recording studio where he built an enviable discography. As an artistic director and curator, he influenced numerous festivals and ensembles, and as an educator he inspired many...

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