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British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage (b. 1960) studied with Oliver Knussen and John Lambert, and later with Gunther Schuller. Hans Werner Henze recognized his talent and encouraged him to compose Greek for the Munich Biennale festival in 1988. The success of this opera established Turnage’s reputation as a composer fusing jazz and classical styles. From 1989 to 1993 Turnage was Composer in Association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Simon Rattle, and he was the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s first Associate Composer, from 2000 to 2003. He was also Composer in Association with the English National Opera, which premiered The Silver Tassie in 2000.

Snapshots was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta for a special concert in June 2002, celebrating the 50th birthday of Oliver Knussen. A brief scherzo – “bright and breezy” is the indication on the score – plays with a two-bar riff from Scorched, a piece he wrote with guitarist John Scofield and which was nominated for Best Classical Crossover Album in the 2005 Grammys.