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Production notes, photos and promotional video © 2006 Universal Pictures

Children of Men (2006)
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón

children-of-men028.jpg (185 K)Screnplay by Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby

Novel (The Children of Men) by P.D. James

Produced by
Marc Abraham .... producer
Armyan Bernstein .... executive producer
Thomas A. Bliss .... executive producer
Kristel Laiblin .... associate producer
Eric Newman .... producer
Hilary Shor .... producer
Iain Smith .... producer
Tony Smith .... producer

Original Music by John Tavener
Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki
Film Editing by Alfonso Cuarón and Alex Rodríguez
Casting by Lucinda Syson
Production Design by
Jim Clay
Veronica Falzon (collaboration)
Geoffrey Kirkland

Art Direction by
Ray Chan
Paul Inglis
Stuart Rose
Mike Stallion

Set Decoration by Jennifer Williams
Costume Design by Jany Temime


children-of-men027.jpg (216 K)
(L to R) CLIVE OWEN as disillusioned
bureaucrat Theo, director of photography
ALFONSO CUARON on the set of
the thriller "Children of Men".

ALFONSO CUARÓN (Directed by / Screenplay by / Editor)—who is fast becoming one of the most celebrated directors of his generation—most recently scored worldwide critical and box-office riches with the global blockbuster Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third in the series of phenomenally successful adaptations of author J.K. Rowling’s novels; Rowling herself named Cuarón’s film as her personal favorite in the continuing series. At the time of the release of Prisoner of Azkaban, the filmmaker was still enjoying critical acclaim for his previous film, Y tu mamá también, for which he received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Original Screenplay (written with his brother Carlos) and BAFTA nominations for Best Foreign Film and Best Original Screenplay.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Cuarón studied cinema and philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He worked as an assistant director in several films and directed television shows before making his movie debut with Sólo con tu pareja. This dark comedy, about a womanizing businessman who learns he’s contracted AIDS, starred Daniel Giménez Cacho and Claudia Ramírez and was the biggest box-office hit in Mexico in 1992; it garnered Cuarón an Ariel Award as co-writer.

Impressed with the feature film debut, Sydney Pollack hired Cuarón to direct Murder, Obliquely, an episode of the neo-noir Fallen Angels series on Showtime (joining the ranks of fellow Fallen Angels directors Steven Soderbergh, Jonathan Kaplan, Peter Bogdanovich and Tom Hanks). The episode, starring Laura Dern and Alan Rickman, won Cuarón the 1993 Cable ACE Award for Best Director.

Alfonso made his American feature film debut with the critically acclaimed motion picture adaptation of the beloved children’s book A Little Princess (which was nominated for Academy Awards® for Best Cinematography and Art Direction, and won the L.A. Film Critics New Generation Award). This was followed in 1998 by a contemporary adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel Great Expectations, which starred Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert De Niro, Anne Bancroft and Ethan Hawke.

Cuarón next returned to Mexico to direct a Spanish-speaking cast in the funny, provocative and controversial road comedy Y tu mamá también, which he followed with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Cuarón established his own film production companies in partnership with Jorge Vergara–Anhelo, focusing on Spanish-speaking features, and Monsoon Entertainment for films in English.

TIMOTHY J. SEXTON (Screenplay by) was born in St. Louis, where he majored in English at Colorado College. He later took time to travel. Sexton then worked as a copywriter, journalist and translator. After living in Mexico City for four years, he relocated to Los Angeles to become a screenwriter.

For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story was his first filmed screenplay, which was produced by HBO Films and which earned Sexton the 2002 WGA Paul Selvin Award, given to a work that “best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties, which are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere.” Sexton followed that with the teleplay of the HBO movie Boycott (co-written with Herman Daniel Farrell), starring Jeffrey Wright, Terrence Howard and CCH Pounder.

Sexton also wrote The Education of Ron Morris; Live From Baghdad (for which he received a 2003 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries Movie or Dramatic Special), starring Michael Keaton and Helena Bonham Carter; Marion Barry; Walkout, starring Alexa Vega and Michael Pena; and Enrique’s Journey—all for HBO Films.

Next up for Sexton is the film To the Ends of the Earth, with Taylor Hackford attached to direct.

The writer is married to Laura Macias, and the couple has two children, Jeronimo and Martina.

DAVID ARATA (Screenplay by) is a 3rd generation San Franciscan. He grew up in Millbrae, a small suburb south of San Francisco. He studied at UC Santa Cruz, originally as a painter because he was attracted to the visual. However, he ended up directing plays and, from there, found his way into writing.

Children of Men will be Arata’s third screenplay credit. His previous feature writing credits include Brokedown Palace (with Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale) and Spy Game (with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt).

Arata has been fortunate enough to work with some of Hollywood’s most talented directors. After writing for Cuarón, Arata collaborated with Peter Weir on a screenplay based on William Gibson’s novel Pattern Recognition.

His next project, Bend, a character-based mystery that focuses on a gifted young scientist, will be his directorial debut. Mark Johnson will be producing.

Arata has been a creative advisor at the Sundance Screenwriter Lab. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

In addition to P.D. James’ The Children of Men, MARK FERGUS & HAWK OSTBY (Screenplay by) have collaborated on 12 scripts over the past decade, including the thriller Consequence for HBO Pictures as well as adaptations of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars.

They are currently writing Iron Man, which begins production in early 2007, for Marvel Studios and director Jon Favreau. Fergus makes his directing debut with their original screenplay First Snow, which will be released in March 2007 by the Bob Yari Film Group. The psychological thriller stars Guy Pearce, Piper Perabo, William Fichtner and J.K. Simmons.

P.D. JAMES (Based on the Book by) is the author of 19 books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries. James spent 30 years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Department of Great Britain’s Home Office. She has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2000, she celebrated her 80th birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest. The recipient of many prizes and honors (including Grand Master Award from Mystery Writers of America, 1999, and the Diamond Dagger from British Crime Writers’ Association, 1987), she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. She lives in London and Oxford.

MARC ABRAHAM (Produced by) founded Strike Entertainment, a development/production entity, in early 2002. Strike is based at Universal Pictures, where the company enjoys a comprehensive first-look, four-year production agreement. Strike most recently produced the darkly comic horror film Slither, which marked the feature film directorial debut of acclaimed genre film scribe James Gunn. In addition to Children of Men, Strike Entertainment recently wrapped one other film for Universal Pictures, the comedy Let’s Go To Prison.

Abraham produced Dawn of the Dead for Universal Pictures; Spy Game, directed by Tony Scott, and starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt; The Emperor’s Club for Universal, starring Kevin Kline; Tuck Everlasting for Disney, starring Oscar® winners Ben Kingsley, William Hurt and Sissy Spacek; The Family Man, starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni; the summer blockbuster hit Bring It On, starring Kirsten Dunst; and A Thousand Acres, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Abraham served as executive producer as well on such films as Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford; The Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington and directed by Norman Jewison; and For Love of the Game, starring Kevin Costner.

Previously, Abraham was the president of Beacon Communications. While there, Abraham also spearheaded the formation of Beacon Records, which released five soundtracks that sold more than four million units worldwide. During its first few years, Beacon produced such award-winning films as The Commitments, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Picture (Musical/Comedy) in 1991 and went on to win four BAFTA awards; and Keith Gordon’s well received A Midnight Clear, starring Ethan Hawke.

In a co-venture with Turner Pictures, Abraham executive-produced David Mamet’s A Life in the Theater, which won a Cable ACE Award for Best Dramatic or Theatrical Special. Beacon also produced Sugar Hill, starring Wesley Snipes; Princess Caraboo, starring Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline, for which Abraham was a Golden Halo winner; The Road to Wellville, directed by Alan Parker and starring Anthony Hopkins; and The Baby-Sitters Club, based on the best-selling series of books from Scholastic.

Abraham’s entry into film began with the documentary Playing to Win, an inside look at the Cuban athletic system. He authored several screenplays for such companies as 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and CBS, and wrote for the popular series 21 Jump Street and Moonlighting. In 1990, Abraham won a Writers Guild Award for The Earth Day Special.

ERIC NEWMAN (Produced by) is a partner, with Marc Abraham and Thomas

A. Bliss, in Strike Entertainment, a Universal Pictures-based film production and cofinancing company formed in 2002. Recent company credits include writer-director James Gunn’s mordantly funny horror film Slither; director Zack Snyder’s re-imagining of Dawn of the Dead; and The Rundown, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Upcoming for Strike is Let's Go To Prison, starring Dax Shepard and Will Arnett. A former senior executive at Beacon Communications, Newman helped supervise the production of such films as director Tony Scott’s Spy Game, starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, and The Emperor’s Club, starring Kevin Kline.

Newman got his start working for producer Lorne Michaels at Saturday Night Live before joining Michaels’ Broadway Video, where he worked on the films Wayne’s World, starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, and the Chris Farley-David Spade films Tommy Boy and Black Sheep.

Newman is a graduate of the USC School of Cinema-Television.

HILARY SHOR (Produced by) is the NY/LA-based partner in Hit and Run Productions, which she started with Tony Smith in 1994, the year they optioned the

P.D. James novel The Children of Men. Prior to that, the Smith College/Annenberg School of Communications graduate had been a talent and literary agent in Los Angeles for 15 years. Her now 25 years in the entertainment community served her well when she joined forces with Smith in his management company and formed a film division with an eye toward UK and European talent and material.

Shor’s documentary Beautopia was the hit of the Chicago and Sundance Film Festivals and last year she ventured into television with the pilot Model Behavior. She will produce Stephan Elliott’s Susan Cabot biopic Black Oasis in the fall of 2006, which stars Gina Gershon and Jonathan Rhys Meyers and will shoot in Connecticut. While in the U.K. on the set of Children of Men, she acquired the rights to Anne Bowen’s acclaimed novel House in Paris and G.P. Taylor’s massive best sellers Wormwood and Tersias. She also is collaborating on developing the film of the prestigious award- winning Malorie Blackman novel Naughts & Crosses.

Emily Mortimer will star in the film of House in Paris, which was adapted by Evgenia Citkowitz and is being prepped for shooting in the spring of 2007 in Europe. As an Elizabethan and Jacobean history major at the University of Sussex, Hilary’s passion for history is being realized on film in her production of the life story of famous English martyr, Nicholas Owen, entitled The Priest Hole. Ferdinand Fairfax will direct Rupert Walters’ script for Hit and Run’s U.K. arm in 2007.

TONY SMITH (Produced by) has been both personal and business manager to Phil Collins and the bands Genesis and Mike & the Mechanics for the past 30 years and continues to do so. He also looks after the interests of Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and in the past has been closely involved as manager of Peter Gabriel, Julian Lennon, Peter Frampton and many others. He also managed the career of Stephan Elliott (director of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) and was closely involved with Elliott during the making of Priscilla and another Elliott movie, Frauds.

Smith is founder and owner of Hit and Run Productions and, together with his partner, Hilary Shor, produced Eye of the Beholder (directed by Stephan Elliott and starring Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd), which attained #1 box office in the U.S. He acquired the rights from P.D. James to her novel The Children of Men in 1994 and, along with Hilary Shor, continued to support the project throughout the search for the right director, whom they finally found in Alfonso Cuarón. Hit and Run Productions has several other projects in the final stages of development.

Tony has also been very involved in the Broadway production of Disney’s Tarzan, on which he has been working with Phil Collins for the last few months and which opened on Broadway in May, 2006, and is enjoying sellout business.

IAIN SMITH (Produced by) was born in Glasgow in 1949 and graduated from the London Film School in 1971. He worked in London for several years before returning to his native Scotland to make My Childhood for the British Film Institute, which was the first installment of the award-winning trilogy by the late Bill Douglas.

Smith formed his own production company in partnership with Jon Schorstein and produced television commercials, documentaries, children’s feature films and low- budget dramas, and, in 1978, he production-managed Bertrand Tavernier’s Deathwatch. A year later he joined David Puttnam and Hugh Hudson to make the Academy Award® winning Chariots of Fire.

He went on to line-produce a variety of films for David Puttnam, including Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero, starring Peter Riegert and Burt Lancaster; Roland Joffé’s The Killing Fields, starring Sam Waterston and Dr. Haing S. Ngor; and Joffé’s The Mission, starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons. He also produced Brian Gilbert’s The Frog Prince.

In 1987, Smith formed Applecross Productions and went on to co-produce Richard Marquand’s Hearts of Fire, starring Bob Dylan, followed by Michael Austen’s Killing Dad. In 1991, he co-produced Roland Joffé’s City of Joy, and, in 1992, executive-produced Ridley Scott’s 1492: Conquest of Paradise.

In 1994, Smith co-produced Stephen Frears’ Mary Reilly, starring Julia Roberts, followed by Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element, starring Bruce Willis, which was produced by his company, Zaltman Films Ltd., for Gaumont. He then produced Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Seven Years in Tibet (starring Brad Pitt) for Columbia Pictures, followed by Jon Amiel’s Entrapment (starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones) for 20th Century Fox.

Following this, Smith executive-produced Spy Game for Universal Pictures and Beacon Communications, which starred Robert Redford and Brad Pitt and was directed by Tony Scott. He then executive-produced Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain, starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renée Zellweger, and most recently produced Oliver Stone’s sweeping Alexander, starring Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins. Smith also serves as a producer on Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming The Fountain.

Smith is a board member of both the U.K. Film Council and Scottish Screen, and serves as vice president of the Production Guild of Great Britain. He has served on the Scottish Film Council, the Scottish Film Production Fund, the Scottish Film Training Trust and as a Governor of the National Film and Television School. He is currently deputy chairman of the British Film Advisory Group and is a director of the Children’s Film and Television Foundation.

THOMAS A. BLISS (Executive Producer) co-founded Strike Entertainment in 2002. Prior to that, Bliss served as chief operating officer at Beacon Communications, which he joined in 1990. He most recently served as executive producer on writer/director James Gunn’s Slither. His earlier credits include executive-producing Dawn of the Dead, The Emperor’s Club, Tuck Everlasting, Spy Game, Thirteen Days, The Family Man, End of Days, The Hurricane, Air Force One, Trippin’, A Thousand Acres, Playing God and The Baby-Sitters Club, and producing Bring It On, A Life in the Theater and Box of Moonlight.

Born in Hollywood, Bliss made his first films (8mm) in junior high school. After graduating from UCLA Film School, he served as Dean of Students at USC’s Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, returning to UCLA for a degree in law. Bliss next earned a spot in the Directors Guild of America-Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers Training Program. He has been honored with a Peabody Award and two Cable ACE Awards.

Bliss serves on the Board of Trustees of the Directors Guild of America-Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers Training Program, the Board of Governors of the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, the California Indian Legal Services Board and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

ARMYAN BERNSTEIN (Executive Producer), chairman of Beacon Communications and ShoWest Producer of the Year, has produced and executive- produced such films as Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford; The Hurricane (which he also co-wrote), starring Denzel Washington; Thirteen Days, starring Kevin Costner; End of Days, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; The Family Man, starring Nicolas Cage; Bring It On, starring Kirsten Dunst; For Love of the Game, starring Kevin Costner; Spy Game, starring Brad Pitt and Robert Redford; Open Range, starring Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall and Annette Bening; Raising Helen, starring Kate Hudson and John Corbett; Ladder 49, starring John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix; A Lot Like Love, starring Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet; Firewall, starring Harrison Ford, Virginia Madsen and Paul Bettany; and The Guardian, starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher and directed by Andrew Davis.

Currently in production is The Waterhorse, directed by Jay Russell.

Bernstein founded Beacon Communications in 1990, and it has become one of the most successful independently financed film companies in the entertainment business. Its first films were The Commitments, directed by Alan Parker, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Picture and went on to win four BAFTA Awards; Keith Gordon’s critical triumph A Midnight Clear, starring Ethan Hawke; A Thousand Acres, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Jessica Lange; Sugar Hill, starring Wesley Snipes; Playing God, starring David Duchovny and Timothy Hutton; Princess Caraboo, starring Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline; The Road to Wellville, directed by Alan Parker and starring Anthony Hopkins; and David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre, which won a Cable ACE Award for Best Drama.

Bernstein was born and raised in Chicago and attended the University of Wisconsin. He was a broadcast journalist with PBS and then with ABC. He wrote the cult classic Thank God It’s Friday, starring Debra Winger and Jeff Goldblum. He then wrote and co-produced Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary Vegas romance One from the Heart. Bernstein made his directing debut with Windy City, from his screenplay, which starred John Shea and Kate Capshaw. He also co-wrote and directed Cross My Heart, starring Martin Short and Annette O’Toole. Bernstein wrote and produced ABC’s Emmy Award–winning The Earth Day Special.

children-of-men026.jpg (182 K)
(L to R) Director of photography

EMMANUEL LUBEZKI, ASC AMC (Director of Photography) has been nominated three times by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Cinematography Oscars® for Terrence Malick’s The New World; Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow; and Alfonso Cuarón’s A Little Princess. His artful and visually distinctive photography was also seen in the recent Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, The Assassination of Richard Nixon and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Lubezki continues his ongoing professional relationship with Cuarón, having previously worked with the filmmaker on Sólo con tu pareja, Murder, Obliquely/Fallen Angels, Great Expectations and Y tu mamá también.

His other additional feature film credits include The Birdcage, Reality Bites, A Walk in the Clouds, Meet Joe Black, Ali and Things You Can Tell Just by looking At Her.

A native of Mexico City, Lubezki also shot the films Like Water for Chocolate, Love in the Time of Hysteria, Miroslava and Ámbar, all winners of the Silver Ariel Award (Mexico’s Oscars®) for Best Cinematography.

JIM CLAY’s (Production Designer) feature film design credits include most recently Woody Allen’s Match Point; Richard Eyre’s Stage Beauty; Richard Curtis’ Love Actually; Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz’s About a Boy; John Madden’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; William Boyd’s The Trench; Atom Egoyan’s Felicia’s Journey; and Onegin for director Martha Fiennes. His earlier credits include Copycat, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter and Queen of Hearts, all for director Jon Amiel; Pat O’Connor’s Circle of Friends; John Roberts’ War of the Buttons; Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game; and James Dearden’s A Kiss Before Dying. Upcoming projects include David Leland’s Guilty Pleasures.

Television credits include The Singing Detective, for which Clay won an RTS and BAFTA Award for Best Design, and Christabel, for which he also won a BAFTA Award for Best Design.

Designer GEOFFREY KIRKLAND’s (Production Designer) work has been seen in nine films by filmmaker Alan Parker, including The Life of David Gale, Angela’s Ashes, Mississippi Burning, Birdy, Come See the Paradise, Shoot the Moon, Fame, the Academy Award®-winning Midnight Express and Bugsy Malone, their first film together, which also earned Kirkland a BAFTA Award for Best Production Design.

Kirkland’s other film credits as production designer include James Gartner’s Glory Road, Brett Ratner’s After the Sunset, Barbet Schroeder’s Desperate Measures, Joe Pytka’s Space Jam, Penny Marshall’s Renaissance Man and Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff, for which he shared an Academy Award® nomination.

ALEX RODRÍGUEZ (Editor) has previously worked with Alfonso Cuarón twice, serving as editor of Y tu mamá también and as associate editor on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Rodríguez has also collaborated with a list of high caliber international filmmakers and talent. His list of feature film editing credits includes Giacomo Martelli’s The Listening; Mistress of Spices, starring Aishwarya Rai and Dylan McDermott; Jorge Ramírez Suárez’s crime thriller Conejo en la luna; Carlos Sama’s comedy Sin ton ni Sonia; Fernando Sariñana’s thriller Todo el poder; and Antonio Zavala’s romantic comedy/drama Al borde. Rodríguez has also edited the short films Mr Firecul, Tu mataste a Tarantino and Perriférico and the documentary El Lugar donde se juntan los polos. His work was most recently seen in the “Parc Monceau” segment of the grouping of ensemble films Paris, je t’aime.

JANY TEMIME (Costume Designer) recently designed the costumes for the wizards and villains of Mike Newell’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Alfonso Cuarón’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; she will also perform the same task for the forthcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Her other costume credits include Agnieszka Holland’s Copying Beethoven; Beeban Kidron’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Todd Komarnicki’s Resistance; Mel Smith’s High Heels and Low Lifes; Werner Herzog’s Invincible; Marleen Gorris’ The Luzhin Defence; Paul McGuigan’s Gangster No. 1; Ed Thomas’ Rancid Aluminum; and Marc Evans’ House of America, for which she won the BAFTA Wales Award for Best Costume Design. Additional credits include George Sluizer’s The Commissioner and Marleen Gorris’ Antonia’s Line, which won the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Film, as well as the Golden Calf for Costume Design, Film Festival Utrecht.

Celebrated composer JOHN TAVENER (Original Music “Fragments of a Prayer” by) first came to public attention in 1968 with the premiere of his oratorio “The Whale” at the inaugural concert of the London Sinfonietta. The Beatles subsequently recorded the piece on their Apple label.

Although Tavener’s avant-garde style of the ‘70s contrasts with the contemplative beauty of his works for which he is best known, the seeds of the language he would later adopt were already in evidence. His early compositions, notably “Thérèse” (1973, commissioned by the Royal Opera House) and “A Gentle Spirit” (1977, after the short story by Dostoevsky) showed that spirituality and mysticism were to be his primary sources of inspiration.

His conversion to the Orthodox Church in 1977 resulted from his growing conviction that Eastern traditions retained a primordial essence that the West had lost. Works such as “The Lamb” (1982) and the large-scale choral work “Resurrection” (1989) date from this period. It was in 1989 that Tavener once again came firmly into the limelight, when BBC’s classical musical festival, the Proms, premiered “The Protecting Veil” and introduced his music to a new audience. The opera Mary of Egypt premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1992. The same year, a major documentary, Glimpses of Paradise, was broadcast on BBC2. His 50th birthday year was marked in 1994 by the BBC’s Ikons Festival, as well as another major Proms commission—“The Apocalypse.” In 1997, the performance of “Song for Athene” at the close of Princess Diana’s funeral showed that the profound effect of his music reached far beyond just the concert-going public.

The premiere of “A New Beginning” played out the final minutes of 1999 in London’s Millennium Dome; on January 4, 2000, “Fall and Resurrection” was premiered at St. Paul’s Cathedral, broadcast on both television and radio. Tavener received a Knighthood in the Millennium Honors List and, later the same year, London’s South Bank Centre presented a major festival of his music. Overseas commissions increased, notably with “Lamentations and Praises” (2000) for the San Francisco-based Chanticleer (whose recording of the work won Tavener the Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition in 2003) and “Ikon of Eros” (2001) for the Minnesota Orchestra.

Tavener was then led to look for inspiration from alternative sources by his interest in the universalist philosophy of the late Swiss metaphysician Fritjhof Schuon, which embraces all great religious traditions. This change in direction is manifest in works written since 2001, notably “The Veil of the Temple,” “Lament for Jerusalem” (which uses both Christian and Islamic texts) and “Hymn of Dawn” (which is based on Hindu, Sufi, Christian and Jewish texts, as well as the music of the Native Americans). Other works include the song-cycle “Schuon Lieder,” “Pratrirupa” for piano and strings, and numerous choral works, including “Elizabeth Full of Grace,” a commission from HRH the Prince of Wales.

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