Born: 9th December 1934
Died: 19th March 1996
Country: United Kingdom
Studies: Guildhall School of Music & [Royal College of Music]]
Teachers: Herbert Howells & Gordon Jacob & Michael Tippett & Peter Fricker
Ridout's style is mostly tonal, though in younger life he wrote some microtonal works. His works include church, orchestral and chamber music, often intended for amateurs and children. Much of the church music came out of a collaboration between Ridout and Allan Wicks, organist and master of the choristers at Canterbury Cathedral which began in 1964.
The six string quartets, composed over a period of nine years (1985-1994), are adventurous and varied in form and mood, but "not so testing as to be outside the scope of the good amateur ensemble". There are also a large number of concertinos for solo instruments with piano or string accompaniment often written especially for students or friends. He also wrote pieces for unaccompanied instruments such as Caliban and Ariel (1974), for unaccompanied bassoon, a musical recreation of two Shakespeare characters from The Tempest. It was first performed in Canterbury by Laurence Perkins (then a student) and has been frequently performed (and recorded) by him since.
Alan Ridout worked regularly with the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO). His Three Pictures of Picasso, originally written for the National Youth Orchestra, was performed by the LSSO at a De Montfort Hall concert conducted by Rudolf Schwarz in 1964 with the composer present. His second symphony, also for the LSSO, was dedicated to Michael Tippett to mark his 60th birthday (though Ridout did not hold Tippett in high regard). The symphony was first performed in 1965 and also featured in the television programme Overture with Beginners.
The 1967 Leicestershire Schools Music Festival included a number of LSSO commissions and in May that year Ridout's dance drama Funeral Games for a Greek Warrior made its debut at De Montfort Hall. In July 1967 the LSSO made its first commercial disc for the Pye Golden Guinea label and Ridout responded to a request for a short work for inclusion on the disc by composing a lively Concertante Music. The work's debut took place on a record rather than at a public concert. Concertante Music was then taken on the LSSO tour of Denmark and Germany in September 1967 (see external video link below).
Works for Percussion