Thomas Adès

Biography

Ades headshotThomas Adès was born in London in 1971. His compositions include two operas, Powder Her Face (Cheltenham Festival/Almeida Theatre, London, 1995), and The Tempest (Royal Opera, Covent Garden, 2004). Other orchestral works include Asyla (CBSO, 1997), Tevot (Berlin Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall, 2007), Polaris (New World Symphony, Miami 2011), Violin Concerto Concentric Paths (Berliner Festspiele and London Proms, 2005), In Seven Days (Piano concerto with moving image - LA Philharmonic and RFH London 2008), and Totentanz for mezzo-soprano, baritone and orchestra (London Proms, 2013).

Chamber works include the string quartets Arcadiana (1993) and The Four Quarters (2011), Piano Quintet (2001), and Lieux retrouvés for cello and piano (2010). Solo piano works include Darknesse Visible (1992), Traced Overhead (1996), and Three Mazurkas (2010). Choral works include The Fayrfax Carol (King's College, Cambridge 1997), America: a Prophecy (New York Philharmonic, 1999) and January Writ (Temple Church, London 2000).

From 1999 to 2008 he was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival.

As a conductor he appears regularly with, among others, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw, Melbourne and Sydney Symphonies, BBC Symphony, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. As an opera conductor he has conducted The Rake's Progress at the Royal Opera, London and the Zürich Opera, and last Autumn made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera New York conducting The Tempest. He will conduct this production of The Tempest at the Vienna Staatsoper in 2015 with the Vienna Philharmonic.

Future plans include Totentanz with the Boston and Chicago Symphonies and the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics.

Recent piano engagements include solo recitals at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium), New York and the Barbican in London, and concerto appearances with the New York Philharmonic.

Prizes include: Grawemeyer Award for Asyla (1999); Royal Philharmonic Society large-scale composition awards for Asyla, The Tempest and Tevot; Ernst von Siemens Composers' prize for Arcadiana; British Composer Award for The Four Quarters; and Best Opera Grammy and Diapason d'or de l'année (Paris) for The Tempest. He coaches Piano and Chamber Music annually at the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove.

Timeline

1971
Born March 1st, London
1983-1988
Guildhall School of Music, London.
1988-1989
Studies piano in chamber music with György Kurtág in Szombathély, Hungary. Writes Op.1 Five Eliot Landscapes for high soprano and piano
1989-1992
King's College, Cambridge University. Writes Chamber Symphony
1992
First visit to USA.
1993-1994
Studies Piano in Chamber music with Kurtág, International Musicians Seminar, England. Writes first string quartet Arcadiana and first orchestral piece ...but all shall be well while living in Manchester, England as Composer in residence of Hallé orchestra
1995
Opera Powder Her Face to libretto by Philip Hensher premiered at Cheltenham Festival and Almeida Opera, London
1996
Powder Her Face first performed in Germany at Magdeburg Opera. Composes These Premises are Alarmed for opening of Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England
1997
First visit to Los Angeles, for Green Umbrella concert with Los Angeles Philharmonic. Writes Asyla for CBSO and Simon Rattle. Writes The Fayrfax Carol for Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, King's College, Cambridge
1998-1999
Writes America: A Prophecy for New York Philharmonic.
1998-2000
Music director of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
1999
Realizes Nancarrow's Concerto for Pianola and Orchestra for performance at BBC Proms, London
1999-2008
Artistic Director of Aldeburgh Festival
2001
Composes and plays Piano Quintet with Arditti Quartet at Melbourne Festival, Australia
2002-2006
Conducts BCMG touring production of Gerald Barry's The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit
2004
Writes second opera The Tempest to libretto by Meredith Oakes premiered at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London; Opéra National du Rhin, Strasbourg, France; and Royal Opera, Copenhagen, Denmark
2005
Violin Concerto premiered at Berlin Philharmonie
2006
The Tempest US premiere at Santa Fe Opera, New Mexico
2007
Tevot premiered at Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Barbican London, and Salle Playel, Paris. Featured composer at Barbican, London; Présences, Paris. Conducts Asyla and Gerald Barry's Chevaux-de-Frise with Mariinsky Orchestra, St Petersburg. Arranges two Nancarrow Player-Piano Studies for two pianos
2008
Composes first work with visuals, In Seven Days for piano and orchestra; conducts premiere at Royal Festival Hall, London and Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. Conducts The Rake's Progress at Covent Garden, London
2009
Conducts The Rake's Progress at Zürich Opera. Featured composer at Melbourne Festival; featured composer at Stockholm Festival with Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.
2010
The Tempest German premiere at Frankfurt Opera. Mazurkas premiered at Carnegie Hall; solo piano recital at Carnegie Hall - plays new Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face. Conducts In Seven Days at Zürich Tonhalle. Conducts Violin Concerto and Scenes from The Tempest in début with Boston Symphony
2011
Second string quartet The Four Quarters premiered in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and London; second work with visuals Polaris premiered at New World Center, Miami; Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam (without visuals) and San Francisco Symphony. Teaches Piano in Chamber music at International Musicians Seminar, England
2012
Conducts The Tempest at Metropolitan Opera, New York

© Thomas Adès 2014