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Richard  Ayres

Born: October 29th, 1965
Country of origin: United Kingdom
“Ayres score is a fizzy cocktail of hyperactivity, Baroque poise, Straussian pastiche, tantalising tango and much more. Zany and anarchic, it nevertheless has a human core.” (Barry Millington on The Cricket Recovers, Evening Standard)

Richard Ayres was born in Cornwall (southwest Britain) in 1965. In 1986 he followed Morton Feldman's classes at the Darmstadt and Dartington summer schools, and studied composition, electronic music and trombone at Huddersfield Polytechnic, graduating with Distinction in 1989. He moved to The Hague for postgraduate study in composition with Andriessen at the Royal Conservatoire and decided to settle in Holland permanently.

In 1994, Ayres was awarded the International Gaudeamus Prize for composition during the Gaudeamus Music week; and he received the Vermeulen Prize in 2003, the highest award for a composition in the Netherlands. The same year he was Featured Composer at the Huddersfield Festival. Since 2006 he has taught at the Amsterdam Conservatoire.

Ayres’ orchestral works and series of ‘NONcertos’ for solo instrument and ensemble/orchestra have been performed throughout Europe and the UK. Taken as a body of work, they present a kaleidescope of colour, emotion and musical style, often involving strong visual and dramatic ideas and each bearing a number as its title. No. 37b (2006) for orchestra was premiered at the Donaueschingen Musiktage by the SWR Sinfonieorchester Freiburg and Baden-Baden and has since been taken up by Frankfurt Radio Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. No. 46 (2010-11) for orchestra was premiered in the 2011 Holland Festival by the Residentie Orkest under Reinbert de Leeuw and repeated the following year; Ilan Volkov has also conducted the work both in Strasbourg and Glasgow. Most recently, BBC Radio 3 and Südwestrundfunk jointly commissioned No. 48 (night studio)(2014-15) for orchestra, premiered in London by BBC Symphony under Ilan Volkov and SWR Sinfonieorchester with Peter Eötvös at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2015.

Klangforum Wien premiered No. 31 (NONcerto for trumpet and ensemble) in 1998, which was awarded a "recommendation" at the 1999 Unesco Rostrum of Composers in Paris. No. 36 (NONcerto for horn and ensemble) (2002), premiered by the ASKO Ensemble, requires the soloist to run between two ‘mountain peaks’ between virtuosic lines.

Ayres vocal music shares in this sense of theatricality: No. 42 ‘In the Alps’ (2008), an "animated concert" written for soprano Barbara Hannigan and the Netherlands Blazers Ensemble, uses narrative projections in the style of a silent film. In the UK the work was taken up by the London Sinfonietta, and further performances have been seen in the US with ensembles Alarm Will Sound and Present Music. No. 30 (NONcerto for orchestra, soprano and cello) (2001-3) was premiered by the CBSO at the Aldeburgh Festival and has since received performances in Russia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

Ayres’ first opera, The Cricket Recovers, based on a story by children’s author Toon Tellegen, was commissioned and premiered by Aldeburgh Almeida Opera in 2005 and followed by a series of productions including at the Brengenzer Festspiele, Staatsoper Stuttgart, the Holland Festival and Theater Basel. His second opera, Peter Pan, was premiered in 2013 by Staatstheater Stuttgart. A revised version was presented by Welsh National Opera in 2015 and by Komische Oper Berlin in Winter 2016-17.

A commission from Canada’s Continuum Ensemble allowed Ayres to explore film music through a collaboration with renowned film maker Guy Maddin. The resulting work, No. 43 (Glorious) (2008) for ensemble and film, was premiered as part of the SHIFT Festival in Amsterdam and also received performances at the Huddersfield Festival in the UK and in Montreal, Canada.

Portrait discs of Ayres' music have been recorded on Donemus (2003) and NMC (2010) by German ensemble Musikfabrik, and In the Alps was recorded by Barbara Hannigan and the Netherlands Blazers Ensemble.
1965
Born in Cornwall
1986
Attended Morton Feldman's classes at both the Darmstadt and Dartington summer schools
1986-89
Studied composition, electronic music and trombone at Huddersfield Polytechnic, graduating with distinction
1989
Moved to The Netherlands

Studied with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague
1991
No. 8 Piano (solo)
1994
Awarded the International Gaudeamus Prize for composition
1995
No. 24 NONcerto for trombone and ensemble
1997
No.  29 for brass quintet and organ
1997-98
No. 31 NONcerto for trumpet and ensemble
1999
No. 31 awarded a "recommendation" at the UNESCO Rostrum of Composers Awards, Paris
2000
No. 35 Overture
2001
No. 30 NONcerto for orchestra, cello and high soprano

No. 33 a-b-c Cantata for 16-voice SATB choir and ensemble

Featured Composer at the Aldeburgh Festival
2002
No. 36 NONcerto for horn and ensemble
2003
Release of composer portrait CD by musikFabrik

No. 38 Three Small Pieces for string quartet

No. 34b Two Pieces for cello and ensemble

Featured Composer at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Awarded the Vermeulen Prize
2004-06
Lecturer in composition, Royal Conservatoire, The Hague
2005
World premiere of No. 39 The Cricket Recovers by Aldeburgh Almeida Opera
2006
Signed to Schott

No. 37b for orchestra

No. 41 for oboe and chamber orchestra
2007
German premiere of No. 39 The Cricket Recovers by Stuttgart Opera

Appointed Lecturer in composition, Amsterdam Conservatoire
2008
No. 42 In the Alps - an animated concert

No. 43 Glorius
2013
World premier of No. 45 Peter Pan by Staatsoper Stuttgart
2015
No. 48 Night Studio for orchestra

Gallery

per page
  1. Petrushka

    Petrushka

    (with diligent guidance from Dr. Peter Hanser-Strecker); climbs to the summit, dances (joyfully), reflects upon (musical) existence, dances (vigorously) again ... and descends (for another day at the fair).
    Digital output
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: piano
    Order No.: ED 13533
    €1.99
  2. No. 41

    No. 41

    (Five Memos for Eva)
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: 6 players
    Edition: performance material
  3. No. 34b

    No. 34b

    (Two pieces for cello and ensemble)
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: solo cello, flute (doubling alto flute), clarinet, percussion and violin
    Edition: performance material
  4. No. 30a

    No. 30a

    "Schnell aber nicht immer"
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: orchestra, cello (very slightly amplified) and high soprano
    Edition: performance material
    Language: vocal sounds
  5. No. 42

    No. 42

    (In the Alps - an animated concert)
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    text writer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: soprano and ensemble
    Edition: performance material
    Language: English
  6. No. 43

    No. 43

    (Glorious)
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: ensemble
    Edition: performance material
  7. Peter Pan (No. 45)

    Peter Pan (No. 45)

    opera in two acts
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Edition: performance material
    Language: English - German
  8. No. 35

    No. 35

    Overture
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: 2 pianos, euphonium and timpani
    Edition: performance material
  9. No. 44 (diary pieces)

    No. 44 (diary pieces)

    for large ensemble
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: ensemble
    Edition: performance material
  10. No. 46

    No. 46

    (twenty-three thoughts about Robert Walser)
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: orchestra
    Edition: performance material

per page
Profile
“Ayres score is a fizzy cocktail of hyperactivity, Baroque poise, Straussian pastiche, tantalising tango and much more. Zany and anarchic, it nevertheless has a human core.” (Barry Millington on The Cricket Recovers, Evening Standard)

Richard Ayres was born in Cornwall (southwest Britain) in 1965. In 1986 he followed Morton Feldman's classes at the Darmstadt and Dartington summer schools, and studied composition, electronic music and trombone at Huddersfield Polytechnic, graduating with Distinction in 1989. He moved to The Hague for postgraduate study in composition with Andriessen at the Royal Conservatoire and decided to settle in Holland permanently.

In 1994, Ayres was awarded the International Gaudeamus Prize for composition during the Gaudeamus Music week; and he received the Vermeulen Prize in 2003, the highest award for a composition in the Netherlands. The same year he was Featured Composer at the Huddersfield Festival. Since 2006 he has taught at the Amsterdam Conservatoire.

Ayres’ orchestral works and series of ‘NONcertos’ for solo instrument and ensemble/orchestra have been performed throughout Europe and the UK. Taken as a body of work, they present a kaleidescope of colour, emotion and musical style, often involving strong visual and dramatic ideas and each bearing a number as its title. No. 37b (2006) for orchestra was premiered at the Donaueschingen Musiktage by the SWR Sinfonieorchester Freiburg and Baden-Baden and has since been taken up by Frankfurt Radio Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. No. 46 (2010-11) for orchestra was premiered in the 2011 Holland Festival by the Residentie Orkest under Reinbert de Leeuw and repeated the following year; Ilan Volkov has also conducted the work both in Strasbourg and Glasgow. Most recently, BBC Radio 3 and Südwestrundfunk jointly commissioned No. 48 (night studio)(2014-15) for orchestra, premiered in London by BBC Symphony under Ilan Volkov and SWR Sinfonieorchester with Peter Eötvös at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2015.

Klangforum Wien premiered No. 31 (NONcerto for trumpet and ensemble) in 1998, which was awarded a "recommendation" at the 1999 Unesco Rostrum of Composers in Paris. No. 36 (NONcerto for horn and ensemble) (2002), premiered by the ASKO Ensemble, requires the soloist to run between two ‘mountain peaks’ between virtuosic lines.

Ayres vocal music shares in this sense of theatricality: No. 42 ‘In the Alps’ (2008), an "animated concert" written for soprano Barbara Hannigan and the Netherlands Blazers Ensemble, uses narrative projections in the style of a silent film. In the UK the work was taken up by the London Sinfonietta, and further performances have been seen in the US with ensembles Alarm Will Sound and Present Music. No. 30 (NONcerto for orchestra, soprano and cello) (2001-3) was premiered by the CBSO at the Aldeburgh Festival and has since received performances in Russia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

Ayres’ first opera, The Cricket Recovers, based on a story by children’s author Toon Tellegen, was commissioned and premiered by Aldeburgh Almeida Opera in 2005 and followed by a series of productions including at the Brengenzer Festspiele, Staatsoper Stuttgart, the Holland Festival and Theater Basel. His second opera, Peter Pan, was premiered in 2013 by Staatstheater Stuttgart. A revised version was presented by Welsh National Opera in 2015 and by Komische Oper Berlin in Winter 2016-17.

A commission from Canada’s Continuum Ensemble allowed Ayres to explore film music through a collaboration with renowned film maker Guy Maddin. The resulting work, No. 43 (Glorious) (2008) for ensemble and film, was premiered as part of the SHIFT Festival in Amsterdam and also received performances at the Huddersfield Festival in the UK and in Montreal, Canada.

Portrait discs of Ayres' music have been recorded on Donemus (2003) and NMC (2010) by German ensemble Musikfabrik, and In the Alps was recorded by Barbara Hannigan and the Netherlands Blazers Ensemble.
Works
Chronology
1965
Born in Cornwall
1986
Attended Morton Feldman's classes at both the Darmstadt and Dartington summer schools
1986-89
Studied composition, electronic music and trombone at Huddersfield Polytechnic, graduating with distinction
1989
Moved to The Netherlands

Studied with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague
1991
No. 8 Piano (solo)
1994
Awarded the International Gaudeamus Prize for composition
1995
No. 24 NONcerto for trombone and ensemble
1997
No.  29 for brass quintet and organ
1997-98
No. 31 NONcerto for trumpet and ensemble
1999
No. 31 awarded a "recommendation" at the UNESCO Rostrum of Composers Awards, Paris
2000
No. 35 Overture
2001
No. 30 NONcerto for orchestra, cello and high soprano

No. 33 a-b-c Cantata for 16-voice SATB choir and ensemble

Featured Composer at the Aldeburgh Festival
2002
No. 36 NONcerto for horn and ensemble
2003
Release of composer portrait CD by musikFabrik

No. 38 Three Small Pieces for string quartet

No. 34b Two Pieces for cello and ensemble

Featured Composer at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Awarded the Vermeulen Prize
2004-06
Lecturer in composition, Royal Conservatoire, The Hague
2005
World premiere of No. 39 The Cricket Recovers by Aldeburgh Almeida Opera
2006
Signed to Schott

No. 37b for orchestra

No. 41 for oboe and chamber orchestra
2007
German premiere of No. 39 The Cricket Recovers by Stuttgart Opera

Appointed Lecturer in composition, Amsterdam Conservatoire
2008
No. 42 In the Alps - an animated concert

No. 43 Glorius
2013
World premier of No. 45 Peter Pan by Staatsoper Stuttgart
2015
No. 48 Night Studio for orchestra
Gallery

Gallery

Products

per page
  1. Petrushka

    Petrushka

    (with diligent guidance from Dr. Peter Hanser-Strecker); climbs to the summit, dances (joyfully), reflects upon (musical) existence, dances (vigorously) again ... and descends (for another day at the fair).
    Digital output
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: piano
    Order No.: ED 13533
    €1.99
  2. No. 41

    No. 41

    (Five Memos for Eva)
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: 6 players
    Edition: performance material
  3. No. 34b

    No. 34b

    (Two pieces for cello and ensemble)
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: solo cello, flute (doubling alto flute), clarinet, percussion and violin
    Edition: performance material
  4. No. 30a

    No. 30a

    "Schnell aber nicht immer"
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: orchestra, cello (very slightly amplified) and high soprano
    Edition: performance material
    Language: vocal sounds
  5. No. 42

    No. 42

    (In the Alps - an animated concert)
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    text writer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: soprano and ensemble
    Edition: performance material
    Language: English
  6. No. 43

    No. 43

    (Glorious)
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: ensemble
    Edition: performance material
  7. Peter Pan (No. 45)

    Peter Pan (No. 45)

    opera in two acts
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Edition: performance material
    Language: English - German
  8. No. 35

    No. 35

    Overture
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: 2 pianos, euphonium and timpani
    Edition: performance material
  9. No. 44 (diary pieces)

    No. 44 (diary pieces)

    for large ensemble
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: ensemble
    Edition: performance material
  10. No. 46

    No. 46

    (twenty-three thoughts about Robert Walser)
    Composer: Ayres, Richard
    Instrumentation: orchestra
    Edition: performance material

per page
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