Richard Ayres

  • Cornwall, England, UK, 1965
  • Composer

In 1986 Richard Ayres followed Morton Feldman’s classes at the Darmstadt and Dartington summer schools, and after this experience decided to make music a full-time occupation.

He studied composition, electronic music, and trombone at the polytechnic in Huddersfield, graduating with Distinction in 1989. Since September 1989 he has lived and worked in The Netherlands. He followed the postgraduate composition course at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague, studying with Louis Andriessen, and graduating in 1992. He was appointed as teacher of composition at the Royal Conservatoire in January 2004, and since September 2007 has taught at the Amsterdam Conservatoire.

From 1990 Richard Ayres has worked as composer receiving performances from among others the Asko Ensemble, the Schönberg Ensemble, Ives Ensemble, Orkest de Volharding, Maarten Altena Ensemble, The Netherlands Ballet Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, SWR-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg at the Donaueschingen Musiktage, Apartment House, London Sinfonietta, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble MusikFabrik, The Continuum Ensemble (Canada) as well as writing for ensembles with more unusual instrumentations formed for specific projects.

In September 1994 during the Gaudeamus Music week he was awarded the International Gaudeamus prize for composition, and in June 1999 No. 31 (NONcerto for trumpet) was awarded a “recommendation” at the UNESCO Rostrum of Composers in Paris. In 2003 Ayres was awarded the Vermeulen Prize, the highest award for a composition in The Netherlands. Ensemble MusikFabrik recorded a CD of the composer’s music which was released in 2003.

His first opera, No. 39 The Cricket Recovers, was premiered by Aldburgh Almeida Opera in 2005 and in September 2007 received its German premiere by Stuttgart Junge Oper. 2006 saw two orchestral works, No. 40 (NONcerto for oboe) which Bart Schneemann and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra conducted by Thierry Fischer premiered in the Concertgebouw, and No. 37b for Orchestra (2006) for the Donaueschinger Musiktage. He is currently writing No. 42 (In the Alps — an animated concert) (2008) for the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble and the soprano Barbara Hannigan. Future commissions include a project with film maker Guy Maddin and The Continuum Ensemble.

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