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John Tavener
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    (January 28, 1944-November 12, 2013)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Known for his religious works, including 'The Whale' (1968), 'A Celtic Requiem' (1969), 'Akhmatova: Requiem' (1980), 'The Protecting Veil' (1988), 'Ikon of the Nativity' (1991), 'Song for Athene' (1993), 'Fall and Resurrection' (2000), 'The Veil of the Temple' (2002), 'Lament for Jerusalem' (2006) and 'Towards Silence' (2009)
    Composed the operas 'Therese' (1973), 'A Gentle Spirit' (1977) and 'Mary of Egypt' (1991)
    Knighted for services to music (2000)
    He claimed to be a direct descendent of 16th-century composer John Taverner, but he probably wasn't.
    He lived at home with his mother until he was 40.
    His first marriage broke up in eight months.
    He continued wearing his hair down to his shoulders as his hairline receded.
    He said that we are living 'at the end of the Hindu cycle, the Khali Yuga, therefore one can't expect much from people - and one doesn't get very much from people.'
    Some critics dismissed his later works as 'holy minimalism' and 'simple music for simple people.'
    He had Marfan syndrome, which caused repeated health crises.
    After a heart attack, he was completely unresponsive until his wife played Mozart and he started moving his arms as if conducting.
    He recorded for the Beatles' Apple Records label.
    His 'Song for Athene' was performed at Princess Diana's funeral.
    He showed up at a meeting of the Society for the Promotion of New Music and told the members they should listen to 'The Marriage of Figaro,' adding 'At least Mozart knew how to write a vocal line.'
    His advice for composers was that if you could not hear the music in your head as you wrote it, then you shouldn't bother.

Credit: C. Fishel

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