Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji

"No genius has any right to lock up in one difficult and costly-accessible corner of the world, a work of supreme art, even his own. Great Art is universal. It should not be made the monopoly of a few." - Kaikhosru Sorabji, letter to Philip Heseltine, 1913.

The legacy of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892-1988) is vast. Sorabji was an enormously prolific composer, who completed more than one hundred works between 1915 and 1984. Many are for piano solo; some are of enormous dimensions. Those familiar with his principal keyboard works would never imagine these compendia of fearsome difficulties becoming "standard repertory" for future piano and organ virtuosi. It is clear, however, that despite the unique challenges which this music hurls at performers, it claims a powerful and immediate intellectual and emotional grip on listeners.

International artists of distinction who have performed, broadcast, or recorded Sorabji's music include pianists Yonty Solomon, Michael Habermann, Geoffrey Douglas Madge, John Ogdon, Ronald Stevenson, Marc-André Hamelin, Donna Amato, Carlo Grante, and Charles Hopkins; sopranos Jane Manning and Jo Ann Pickens; and organist Kevin Bowyer. A complete list, with a few audio samples, is given in the discography.

In addition to almost seven decades of music composition, Sorabji, a prolific critic and essayist of great wit, wrote many brilliant and frequently controversial articles, reviews, and letters-to-the-editor. Two volumes of collected essays were published.

A few of Sorabji's scores, published between 1919 and 1931, came under the exclusive selling agency of Oxford University Press in 1938. The last of them sold out just a few days before Sorabji's death in 1988. No reprints were proposed. The vast majority of his music remains, for the time being, in manuscript only.

Established in 1988, the Sorabji Archive houses a collection of literature by and about Sorabji including manuscripts, essays, performances, recordings, personal correspondence, and much more. In many cases, the Archive is the sole distributor for this material. We issue copies of these remarkable scores and writings to the public worldwide and welcome visits by appointment from performers and scholars.

Biography - Discography - Musical Scores - Photo Gallery - References - Sorabji Archive - Writings

These pages are sponsored by the Faculty of Music at McGill University.


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For more information about the Sorabji Archive, please write to curator Alistair Hinton.
Copyright 1996-2006, The Sorabji Archive. Reproduction by any means of all or any part or parts of all musical and literary work printed or otherwise by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji and the sale, hire, or other distribution of such reproductions except by prior written consent of the Sorabji Archive or its authorised suppliers constitutes copyright infringement and is therefore unlawful.

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