Cathy Nelson Artists and Projects
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Hereford HR3 6AW
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Luke Bedford - Composer

Luke Bedford is a young British composer who has quietly made a significant name among the composers of his generation with a series of awards winning scores that are now being performed internationally.

Luke was born in 1978 and studied composition at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music with Edwin Roxburgh and Simon Bainbridge. In 2001, the London Sinfonietta premièred Five Abstracts - a chamber work for 14 players. A BBC commission followed - Rode with Darkness, a work for large orchestra, which was premièred by the Hallé Orchestra under Mark Elder in January 2004 and which won the Radio 3 Listener’s Award that year.  The German première was in January 2005 with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester conducted by George Benjamin.

The song cycle Or Voit Tout En Aventure was premièred by the London Sinfonietta with Claire Booth (soprano) and Oliver Knussen in 2006, settings of three texts written in medieval French and Italian and linked thematically by the music. Tom Service wrote ‘one of the most outstanding pieces by any composer I’ve ever experienced- music of brooding expressive intensity and charged with that indefinable quality that makes a piece sound as if it was written out of sheer necessity.’ iI has since received many further performances, including a tour across Europe by Ensemble Modern with Anu Komsi and George Benjamin and was nominated for the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards 2007. The sensual orchestral work Outblaze the Sky  was commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and premièred at the Barbican in April 2007 with Daniel Harding, the title  inspired by a phrase in D.M. Thomas’ The White Hotel.

Bedford won a prestigious Paul Hamlyn Artists Award in 2007, and that year wrote Wreathe for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and – the work won a British Composer Award in 2008. Bedford’s commission from the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Good Dream She Has, received its première in April 2008, scored for an ensemble of 15 players and three solo singers, the text a re-writing of Milton’s Paradise Lost.  A residency with Ensemble Modern in Johannesburg inspired  By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gol,premièred in Berlin and Frankfurt in March 2009.

Bedford was the first ever composer in residence at the Wigmore Hall in London, which has earned him several commissions, including the string quartet Nine Little Boxes, All Carefully Packed (2011). In Feburary 2012 Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale was given its world première by the Scottish Ensemble and in 2013 Wonderful Four-Headed Nightingale for the Arditti string quartet at Wien Modern. Bedford was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung Composer’s Prize in music at this time. Bedford’s first opera – Seven Angels, based on Milton’s Paradise Lost – was premièred in 2011 by the Opera Group and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. His second highly acclaimed opera, Through His Teeth (libretto: David Harrower) was premièred at the Royal Opera House in 2014.

A new orchestral score Instability commissioned by the BBC Proms was premiered in August 2015 by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Juanjo Mena, and BCMG commissioned In Bright Black Ink for the close of their 2015/16 season. Bedford’s saxophone concerto for the Arcis Quartet and Deutsche Symphonie Orchestra Berlin was premiered in 2017, and in 2021 the London Sinfonietta and Mark Padmore premiered In the Voices of the Living which will be released on a forthcoming disc by NMC.  A concerto for Colin Currie and the Philharmonia due for performance in 2020 will be given its Covid-delayed first performance in Autumn 2022.  

In March 2022 a disc of Luke’s chamber music work was released on the Bastille Musique label recorded by Holst Sinfonietta.

April 2022