Michael Short was born in Bermuda in 1937 of English and Scottish parentage. He was educated at Gillingham Grammar School and Bristol University, and then studied music at Morley College and London University. In 1966 he won a Mendelssohn Scholarship which enabled him to study composition in Italy with Goffredo Petrassi, and also in London as a private pupil of Sir Lennox Berkeley.
Since then he has written a side variety of music, ranging from works commissioned for eminent professional ensembles to pieces for amateurs, educational music, jazz scores and advertising jingles. Many of his compositions have been broadcast on BBC network radio and have been performed in various countries throughout the world.
He has held appointments as a music librarian, lecturer and professor of music history, but now devotes his time entirely to composition. He is a member of the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters and was for many years a member of the former Composers' Guild of Great Britain, on whose Executive Committee he also served. In 1989 he was awarded a Fellowship in Composition of Trinity College of Music, London. He has served as a regional adjudicator for the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition and the Boosey & Hawkes National Band Competition, and for many years was Composer in Residence at the annual Dolmetsch Summer School of Music.
Besides composition, he has made a special study of the life and music of Gustav Holst. For the centenary of the composer's birth he produced a Centenary Documentation of Holst's works, edited his letters, and organised and compiled the Holst Centenary Exhibition shown in London at the Royal Festival Hall. His comprehensive book Gustav Holst: the Man and his Music was published in 1990 by Oxford University Press. Other writings include Your Book of Music for children, journal articles, record and CD sleeve notes, and radio talks.
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