Commissions & Premières
Julian Anderson is among the most esteemed and influential composers of his generation. Born in London in 1967, he studied composition with John Lambert, Alexander Goehr and Tristan Murail. He was awarded a prestigious RPS Composition Prize in 1992 at the age of 25 for his two-movement work Diptych (1990) for orchestra, launching his career. His success as a composer has also fed a prominent academic career, which has included Senior Composition Professorships at the Royal College of Music (1996-2004) where he was also Head of Composition for 5 years, Harvard University (2004-2007), and Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he holds the specially created post of Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence. He is also much in demand as concert programmer and public speaker. Between 2002 and 2011, he was Artistic Director of the Philharmonia’s Music of Today concert series at the Royal Festival Hall in London, and from 2013 to 2016 he was Composer in Residence at Wigmore Hall.
Close associations and residencies with leading orchestras of the world have contributed to Anderson’s significant orchestral output. Fantasias (2009) for the Cleveland Orchestra won a British Composer Award, and The Discovery of Heaven (2011), co-commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, won a South Bank Sky Arts Award. Under Vladimir Jurowski, the London Philharmonic Orchestra premiered the violin concerto In Lieblicher Bläue (2014-2015) for Carolin Widmann. Further orchestral commissions include Incantesimi (2016) commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Society, premiered by Simon Rattle, and The Imaginary Museum (2017), a piano concerto for Steven Osborne co-commissioned by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The 2020/2021 season saw world and national premières of his 2023 Grawemeyer Award-winning cello concerto Litanies (2018-2019) written for Alban Gerhardt, and following this, Exiles (2021) for voices and orchestra, commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra was premiered in 2022. His Symphony No 2, “Prague Panoramas” (2019-2021) – commissioned by the BBC, Munich Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra – was premiered at the BBC Proms, conducted by the dedicatee Semyon Bychkov.
Commissions for small ensembles include Book of Hours (2004) for ensemble and electronics written for Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Oliver Knussen, which won the RPS Music Award for Large Scale Composition in 2006 and the following recording on NMC won the 2007 Gramophone Award, and Van Gogh Blue (2015), which was premiered by the Nash Ensemble, co-commissioned by Wigmore Hall, the Koussevitzky Foundation and Casa da Música, and won both a BASCA Award and the RPS Award for Small Scale Composition. His String Quartet No 3 “Hana no Hanataba” (2018), co-commissioned by Wigmore Hall and the Tanglewood Music Center, was premiered by the JACK Quartet in 2018.
Portrait discs of Anderson’s works have been recorded on NMC (2005 & 2019), Ondine (2006 & 2018) and Delphian (2018). Two discs on the LPO Live label document his time as Composer in Residence with the London Philharmonic Orchestra; the first (Fantasias, 2013) was shortlisted for a 2014 Gramophone Award and the second (In Lieblicher Bläue, 2016) won the 2017 BBC Music Magazine’s “Premiere” Award.
In recognition of his varied musical career, Anderson was awarded the CBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours and the Monaco Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Culturel in 2022. He is currently President of the Music Council for the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco and Senior Professor of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.