As a conductor, composer and man, Oliver Knussen was larger than life

But there were seeming contradictions. Disheveled in his dress, a collector whose house runneth over with books, recordings, movies, memorabilia and what not, he was also the most meticulous of musicians. As a composer, he was an obsessive perfectionist who in his last 20 years completed only six pieces, the longest of which, a violin concerto, is 17 minutes long. When he died, he had commissions galore in various unfinished states, including a cello concerto from the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as pieces for the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Ojai Festival.