Renowned as both a composer and a performer, THOMAS ADÈS works regularly with the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies, and festivals. Appointed to the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer Chair at Carnegie Hall for 2007/08, he was featured as a composer, conductor, and pianist throughout that season.
Adès’ most recent works include a “piano concerto with moving image” entitled In Seven Days, a collaborative effort with video artist Tal Rosner commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and London’s Southbank Centre. The world premiere, with the composer conducting the London Sinfonietta, was given at the Royal Festival Hall in April 2008, and in May 2008 the work received its U.S. premiere at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Other recent conducting engagements include an appearance at the 2008 BBC Proms, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and soloists Sir John Tomlinson and Louis Lortie, and productions of The Rake’s Progress at the Royal Opera House in London and at the Zurich Opera. Engagements in the 2009/10 season included a major composer and artist focus with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra; a return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with which he has developed a particularly close relationship; and piano recitals in Vancouver and at Carnegie Hall and the Barbican, where Adès performed the premieres of his new piano work, Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face.
Thomas Adès is a renowned interpreter of a range of other composers’ music, and his performances and recordings of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Nancarrow, Kurtág, Ruders, and Barry have been critically acclaimed. The many orchestras he has conducted include the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC, Finnish, and Danish Radio symphony orchestras, and ensembles including the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (whose Music Director he was from 1998 to 2000), the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, and the Athelas Ensemble. A number of international festivals have chosen to present special focuses on his music. Among these were Helsinki’s Musica Nova (1999), the Salzburg Easter Festival (2004), Radio France’s Festival Présences (2007), the Barbican’s “Traced Overhead” (2007), the Mariinsky Theatre’s New Horizons Festival in St. Petersburg (2007), and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s composer festival (2009).
Born in London in 1971, Thomas Adès studied piano and composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and read music at King’s College, Cambridge. Between 1993 and 1995 he was Composer in Association with the Hallé Orchestra, which 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 performed it at Symphony Hall in August 1998 in Rattle’s last concert as Music Director. Rattle subsequently programmed Asyla in his opening concert as Music Director of the Berlin Philharmonic in September 2002. Adès’ first opera, Powder Her Face (commissioned by Almeida Opera for the Cheltenham Festival in 1995), has been performed around the world, was televised by Channel Four (U.K.), and is available on a DVD as well as an EMI CD.
Most of the composer’s music has been recorded by EMI, with whom Adès has a contract as composer, pianist, and conductor. Adès’ second opera, The Tempest, was commissioned by the Royal Opera House and was premiered under the baton of the composer to great critical acclaim in February 2004. It was revived at Covent Garden in 2007 – again with the composer conducting, and to a sold-out house – and has also been performed in Copenhagen, Strasbourg, and Santa Fe. Recently released to outstanding reviews, The Tempest is also available on an EMI CD. In France, the disc was awarded the Diapason d’Or de l’année and the 2010 Classical Brit Award for Composer of the Year. In September 2005 his violin concerto, Concentric Paths, written for Anthony Marwood, was premiered at the Berliner Festspiele and the BBC Proms, with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under his baton. His second orchestral work for Simon Rattle, Tevot (2007), was commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Carnegie Hall. Adès’ music has attracted numerous awards and prizes, including the Grawemeyer Award (in 2000, for Asyla), of which he is the youngest recipient ever. From 1999-2008 he was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival.