I am very interested in contemporary composers who write music in the sort of accessible styles that attracted me to classical music in the first place, but who nevertheless stamp their own individuality and modernity on their work. This page gives a list of contemporary composers to whose music I feel a special connection … for various reasons. My interests are primarily in the UK and Japan, but I do not want the list to be restricted to those two countries. Do let me know if there are others I should include!
Composers are listed by surname in alphabetical order, and the link is to their official website.
Ayres, Paul: I learned about Paul Ayres’ work when The isle is full of noises featured in a concert in which one of my pieces (The Mill Suite) was also performed. Very atmospheric.
Bartley, Jil: Her Requiem is just fabulous. It is one of my favorite new musical discoveries of the past few years.
Dale, Rebecca: Clearly a star in the making, and getting much deserved attention at present. She wrote her Requiem for her mother, I wrote mine for my grandmother. I just understood immediately where that urge to write came from.
Ffrench, Alexis: I always admire (and think we need many more) composer-performers. If we look back over the history of classical music, this is where the genre’s roots really are.
Fuuki, Harumi: I hesitate to include Fuuki because she writes mainly for film and television, but she is a classically-trained star of the current Japanese scene and I was addicted to her soundtrack for the drama Massan a few years back!
Gunning, Christopher: He is famous for his work in television, but I love the fact that he has dedicated so much of his career to concert music. I have a soft spot, of course, for his Violin Concerto.
Hawes, Patrick: I bought his album Blue in Blue many years ago, and with my academic background in war memories The Great War Symphony is of great interest, too.
Mechem, Kirke: I feel a connection with his “unconventional” route into classical music, and of course (given my research), I can’t wait to hear his opera Pride & Prejudice in full sometime!
Rodgers, Sarah: Modern English music in the tradition of many of my absolute favourite composers, and a composer to whom I owe a great personal debt for her support and encouragement.
Rutter, John: Divine choral music. I played in the orchestra for a performance of his Requiem when I was a student and was hooked …
Shibuya, Makito: A Japanese composer, very close to me in age and style, writing primarily chamber music.
Tsujii Nobuyuki: Is he the highest profile concert soloist writing and performing his own music in the manner of the legends of the past? Respect!
And there is one more … Philip Thonemann was a teacher of mine at school. In this article he mentions a symphony which I played in aged about 14 or 15. I just knew I wanted to do the same myself one day.