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Richard Ayres

Richard Ayres’ new work No. 50 The Garden will receive its world premiere in the ensemble’s 2018/19 season.

A man’s dissatisfaction with life leads to him digging from his garden down to the centre of the earth, before beginning an equally surreal journey into the heavens. Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch and Dante’s Divine Comedy, this new work adds to the series of Ayres' alternative semi-staged concert pieces. The Garden offers a unique contemporary music experience, delivered with witty and irreverent humour throughout.


Richard Ayres has had three of his earlier numbered works performed by the London Sinfonietta. No. 24 was performed in 2001 at a State of the Nation event. No. 36 (NONconcerto for Horn) was performed in a BBC Hear & Now concert in 2006, while his humorous and quirky No. 42 In the Alps was performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2010. We are very pleased to now be co-commissioning No. 50 which he has agreed to make and number for us as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Richard Ayres was born in Cornwall. After attending classes by Morton Feldman at Darmstadt and Dartington he went on to study composition, electronic music and trombone at the University of Huddersfield and composition with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. His compositions have been commissioned and performed by such ensembles as London Sinfonietta, Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Continuum Ensemble, Musikfabrik, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Aldeburgh Festival Opera and Stuttgart Opera. His works include many ‘NONcertos’ for solo instrument and ensemble, the ‘animated concert’ In the Alps, Glorious, for ensemble and film in collaboration with Guy Maddin, and the operas The Cricket Recovers (Aldeburgh and Bregenz festivals) and Peter Pan (Stuttgart Opera).

Ayres’s music has been recorded by the Netherlands Blazers Ensemble and by Musikfabrik for Donemus and NMC. His awards include the International Gaudeamus Prize and the Vermeulen Prize. Since 2006 he has taught composition at the Amsterdam Conservatory.

Commissioned by Asko|Schönberg and London Sinfonietta with initial development funded by The Royal Opera.

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