Thomas Adès born 1 March 1971
Thomas Adès is a British composer, pianist and conductor.
London-born Adès studied piano and composition at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. After attending University College School, he graduated in 1992 from King's College, Cambridge. His degree was classified as 'double starred first', indicating outstanding academic distinction. He was made Britten Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, and in 2004 was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Essex.
In 2007 a retrospective festival of his work was presented at the Barbican Centre in London and he was the focus of Radio France's annual contemporary music festival, 'Présences' and Helsinki's 'Ultimo' festival. The Barbican festival, 'Traced Overhead: The Musical World of Thomas Ades', included the UK premiere of a new work for Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, Tevot.
In 1993, at the age of twenty-two, Adès gave his first public piano recital in London as part of the Park Lane Group series of recitals.
Asyla, for orchestra, was premiered in Symphony Hall, Birmingham in October 1997 by Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at the 1997 BBC Proms. This work also received the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 2000.
Adès conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the London premiere of the work while, in September 2002, Simon Rattle gave his first concert as principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with Asyla and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5, both of which have also been released on CD and DVD by EMI. Asyla has since been performed across the world, including on a recent tour of the Far East by Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Arcadiana, a seven-movement, 20-minute string quartet (Op. 12) was recorded in 1998 along with other work from the 1993 to 1994 period. America: a Prophecy was commissioned for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's Millennium Messages in November 1999 and it received its UK premiere at the Aldeburgh Festival in June 2000. Concentric Paths, Adès' violin concerto, received its premiere in September 2005 to critical acclaim.
Adès has composed two operas, Powder Her Face (1995) a chamber opera with a libretto by Philip Hensher, won both good reviews and notoriety for its musical depiction of fellatio. The opera was commissioned by Almeida Opera, and has since been given new productions by chamber opera groups around the world. The Duchess depicted in the opera is the notorious Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll whose scandalous behaviour in Britain in the early 1960s was revealed during her divorce trial with the introduction into evidence of photographs of her various sexual acts. The Tempest, adapted from Shakespeare's play, was premièred to critical acclaim at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in February 2004, followed by several productions around the world. The opera was revived by Covent Garden in March 2007 to great acclaim.
Adès was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 1999-2008 and Musical Director of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. In 2000, he was composer-in-residence of the Ojai Festival in California (along with Mark-Anthony Turnage).
Adès is also a noted pianist, having been a runner-up in the BBC's Young Musician of the Year competition in 1990.
He was resident with the Los Angeles Philharmonic during their 2005/6 and 2006/7 seasons as part of the orchestra's 'On Location' series.
In 2007 a retrospective festival of his work was presented at the Barbican Arts Centre in London and he was the focus of Radio France's annual contemporary music festival, 'Présences' and Helsinki's 'Ultimo' festival. The Barbican festival, 'Traced Overhead: The Musical World of Thomas Adès', included the UK premiere of a new work for Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, Tevot. In 2009, he was the focus of Stockholm Concert Hall's annual Composer Festival.
In 2006, he entered a civil partnership with Tal Rosner.
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