BRITISH-PORTUGUESE composer, Christopher Bochmann, has been awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the annual Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Christopher has been living in Portugal since 1980 and has been a composer and composition teacher for 25 years. He has also been conducting the Youth Orchestra for 20 years, although his main activity in Portugal is teaching composition at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa, the most important music academy in Portugal.
Over the years, he has been responsible for the creation of the composition course and has had a hand in forming and creating young composers. He says there are few composers studying in the lower half of Portugal, who have not been his pupils or, to some extent, been influenced by his work.
“I’ve been writing music since I was a music pupil in Paris and with Richard Rodney Bennet in London. I also studied composition at Oxford and have written numerous compositions in every combination of instruments or voices. I’m delighted to say that finally, after this length of time, the Portuguese Ministry of Culture has started to notice me as a ‘Luso-Britânico’ composer, as they call me,” he said.
“More of my music has been played recently, which has made me very happy. Just recently, I gave the first performance of my new symphony, entitled The Symphony.”
It is one of the first symphonies to be written in Portugal for several decades and was a large 50 minute piece, which, he says, was hard work for everybody involved but gave him “enormous pleasure to write and a great deal of satisfaction to rehearse and perform”.
Christopher was told of the award by British Ambassador, John Buck, and confesses he was extremely surprised although absolutely delighted. “When you hear something like that, you feel rather stunned and it’s very difficult to analyse what you’re feeling, although you know it’s a real honour. You wonder quite what you’ve done to deserve this! But, at the same time, it’s very nice to have your persistence and hard work, over many years, recognised and rewarded officially,” he said. Chris Graeme