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find:MusicSouth Africa

Malcolm Dedman  

composition, piano
Northern Cape, South Africa

Malcolm Dedman, born in London in 1948, was taught piano at an early age, but soon preferred to improvise, mainly on the piano. He had formal lessons in composition with Patric Standford at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1974-75, but did not receive a formal qualification in music until 2005, when he passed his Masters Degree in Composing Concert Music at Thames Valley University with distinction.

Malcolm’s earlier writing reflected the developments in serialism, but within a modal context. Such works include the first Piano Sonata - Restoration of 1973 and the String Quartet of 1977-79. Although he is still attracted to the possibility of different types of modes, his style has more links with minimalism (although it is rarely strictly minimal) and other so-called post-modern idioms. The modal writing also aims to integrate music from different cultures. He firmly believes in writing music that has a message and can be approached by concert audiences and that such music need not sacrifice quality. He moved to South Africa in 2007.

He says of his music: "My work is fairly diverse, it is mainly in the contemporary concert music category (some call it 'modern classics'). I was brought up in the Christian Faith (C of E) and declared myself Bahá'í in 1986, so some of my earlier achievements are settings of Christian texts, but I have more recently set many of the Bahá'í Hidden Words, together with music that reflects on spirituality in all aspects, including instrumental music that focuses on the Bahá'í Writings. Much of my music therefore draws on all religion as, being a Bahá'í, I believe all religion is one. It is this understanding I most wish to communicate."

Malcolm has produced two CDs. The first is called Tranquillity Zone and is a CD of music for relaxation and meditation, focussing on concepts from many Faiths. Although first produced in 1998 when he lived in the UK, it has been reissued in 2008. In contrast, his Piano Showcase CD, also released in 2008, is much more mixed as it contains dramatic music, not necessarily related to religion at all, as well as two pieces that reflect specifically on words by 'Abdu’l-Bahá, namely, 'Four Kinds of Love' and 'Three Human Attributes'.

Major first performances that have been received well by both audiences and critics include: Christmas Cantata - ‘The Word was Made Flesh’ in 1975; Three Dance Episodes for oboe, guitar and piano at the Wigmore Hall, London, in 1977; String Quartet at the Purcell Room, London, in 1980; Piano Sonata No. 2 - ‘In Search’, in 1986 and Two Reflections for piano in 1988, both at the Purcell Room.

Malcolm has also gained several composition awards, including: Brent Music and Dance Festival in 1969 for a movement from a piano sonata; Stroud International Composer’s Competition in 1974 for the song cycle To Lesbia for tenor and guitar; Recontres Internationales de Chant Choral in 1985 for an anthem Come Unto Me… and Thames Valley University composition prize in 2005 for a Scherzo for piano quartet

Further information may be obtained from the following links:

Click to listen to some musical examples:

Click for further information, including list of scores

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