Jonathan Dove CBE

Jonathan Dove tells stories in music. He has written nearly thirty operas of different shapes and sizes, which are regularly performed all around the world, including the highly successful airport comedy Flight.

Alongside chamber operas and operas for television, he has written operas for a family audience (The Adventures of Pinocchio, The Enchanted Pig, Swanhunter), and works bringing together amateur and professional performers (Tobias and the Angel, The Monster in the Maze). Even when not writing for the stage, his songs, choral works and oratorios are noted for a strong narrative impulse and an ability to communicate. One recent example is In Damascus, setting a first-hand account of life in a war-torn country.

He is currently working on an oratorio Odyssey, telling the story of a refugee’s journey. Although his best-known opera Flight has a refugee at its centre, and he worked for some years on a project about climate refugees, this is his first project to involve direct encounters with refugees, in Bristol and London.

For more information, please visit Jonathan’s website.

Photograph © Marshall Light Studio

Seminar Three Provocation: Shortcomings 

A new piece of music often begins with an encounter: someone has a dream, a hope, a wish, they want a composer to bring something new into the world, and the composer has to listen and imagine what they might be trying to hear.  A few years ago, I was asked to write a lament for the refugees who have died crossing the Mediterranean.  I suggested that, instead, I tell the story of just one refugee who survived the Mediterranean crossing. As someone used to listening, and often thought of as sensitive, it was sobering to confront the shortcomings of my imagination. In my provocation I describe this experience.

Read Jonathan Dove’s provocation in full here.

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