Thomas Adès

British composer, pianist, and conductor whose diverse compositional oeuvre, ranging from solo pieces to operas, established him as one of the most-skilled classical music artists of his generation. Trained as a pianist at the Guildhall School in London, Adès later attended King’s College, Cambridge. Initial recognition came for his virtuoso piano playing, but he started to write music in 1990 (Five Eliot Landscapes) and was instantly acclaimed as a major composer for his inventiveness and remarkably assured technique. Among his notable early compositions are Living Toys (1993), for chamber ensemble, and Arcadiana (1994), for string quartet. His controversial opera Powder Her Face (1995), about a 20th-century divorce scandal, attracted international attention, as did his large symphonic work Asyla (1997), chosen by Sir Simon Rattle for his inaugural concert as chief conductor in the Berlin Philharmonic. Adès’s subsequent works include The Tempest (2003), an opera inspired by the Shakespeare play, and In Seven Days (2008), an orchestral piece accompanied by video images. As a pianist he appeared on several recordings, including the solo release Piano (2000). From 1999 to 2008 he was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival. His awards include Paris Rostrum (1994), Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award (1997), Salzburger Osterfestspiele (1999), Grawemeyer Award (2000), Paul-Hindemith-Preis (2001) etc. In 2011 his 2nd string quartet The Four Quarters had its premiere. His Violin Concerto was released on CD (Avie, 2014), recorded by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic with conductor Hannu Lintu.