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Dench, Christopher (1953--) By Toop, Richard

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM556-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 18 March 2018, from


Christopher Dench is one of a group of British composers who emerged in the early 1980s associated with the notion of New Complexity (other composers included Richard Barrett and James Dillon); the term was also applied to slightly older composers, such as Brian Ferneyhough and Michael Finnissy. Typical of their works were extremely intricate rhythms, often exquisite and highly personal calligraphy, use of microtones, and a generally radical approach to instrumental writing that often placed huge demands on performers.

Born in London, Dench is self-taught but, like many of his contemporaries, gained much from his contact with Michael Finnissy, the composer and pianist. In June of 1987, Dench emigrated first to Tuscany and, later, to Berlin on New Year’s Day, 1989, to take up a DAAD residency. Dench ultimately relocated to Australia on Christmas Day of the same year and became an Australian citizen in 1992.

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Citing this article:

Toop, Richard. "Dench, Christopher (1953--)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 18 Mar. 2018 doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM556-1

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