Born in London in 1971, Thomas Adès studied piano at the Guildhall School of Music, and read music at King's College, Cambridge. Between 1993 and 1995 he was Composer in Association with the Hallé Orchestra, which association resulted in The Origin of the Harp(1994), and These Premises Are Alarmed for the opening of the Bridgewater Hall in 1996. Asyla (1997) was a Feeney Trust commission for Sir Simon Rattle and the CBSO, who toured it together, and repeated it at Symphony Hall in August 1998 in Rattle's last concert as Music Director of the orchestra. Rattle subsequently programmed Asyla in his opening concert with the Berlin Philharmonic as Music Director in September 2002 - an occasion which was recorded on DVD and broadcast on international television and radio.
Adès’ first opera, Powder Her Face (commissioned by Almeida Opera for the Cheltenham Festival in 1995), has been performed all round the world, has been televised by Channel Four, and is available on an EMI CD. Most of the composer's music has been recorded by EMI, with whom Adès has an exclusive contract as composer, pianist and conductor. Adès' second opera, The Tempest, was commissioned by the Royal Opera House and was premiered there under the baton of the composer to great critical acclaim in February 2004.
Thomas Adès' music has attracted numerous awards and prizes, including the Paris Rostrum for the best piece by a composer under 30 (The Origin of the Harp, 1994); the 1997 Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Asyla; the Elise L Stoeger Prize for Arcadiana (New York, 1998); the Salzburg Easter Festival Prize (1999); the Munich Ernst von Siemens Prize for Young Composers (1999); the 2000 Grawemeyer Award for Asyla (the largest international prize for composition, here awarded to the youngest recipient); the Hindemith Prize (2001), and the 2005 Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for The Tempest.
Adès is in demand worldwide as a conductor and pianist. As well as being a renowned interpreter of his own music, his performances and recordings of composers including Kurtág, Janácek, Nancarrow, Schumann, Schubert, Ruders, Tchaikovsky and Gerald Barry have been critically acclaimed. He performs regularly in collaboration with artists including Ian Bostridge and the Belcea Quartet and has conducted many orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Radio France, the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and ensembles including the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, the Athelas Ensemble and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Adès has an exclusive contract with EMI Classics as composer, pianist and conductor, for whom he has recorded music by composers including Janácek, Schubert, Castiglioni, Stravinsky, Grieg and Busoni, as well as almost all of his own music. Adès has been Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival since 1999.
© Faber Music June 2005
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