The composer Charlotte Bray has emerged as one of the most distinctive and outstanding talents of her generation. With uninhibited ambition and a desire to communicate, her music is exhilarating, inherently vivid, and richly expressive with lyrical intensity. She draws inspiration from the world around her – poetry, art, nature, human relationships and political events can provide an impulse for her creative work.
Charlotte Bray studied under Mark Anthony Turnage at the Royal College of Music and Joe Cutler at the Birmingham Conservatoire. She participated in the Britten-Pears Contemporary Composition Course with Oliver Knussen, Colin Matthews and Magnus Lindberg, and at the Tanglewood Music Centre with John Harbison, Michael Gandolfi, Shulamit Ran and Augusta Read-Thomas.
She has composed for numerous ensembles and orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, CBSO Youth Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Britten Sinfonia, Dover Quartet, Oberon Trio, Fidelio Trio and Albany Piano Trio. She has written for some of the world’s leading musicians, including Claire Booth, Roderick Williams, Jennifer Pike, Lawrence Power and Huw Watkins. Her work has been featured at the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Tanglewood, Savannah, Aix-en-Provence, Festspiele Europäische Wochen Passau, Verbier and the Copenhagen Summer Festival. Several renowned conductors have performed her work, including Sir Mark Elder, Oliver Knussen, Sakari Oramo, Daniel Harding, Jac van Steen and Jessica Cottis.
As well as the highly successful world premiere of “Stone Dancer” by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Oliver Knussen at the Aldeburgh Music Festival 2016, the orchestra also gave the world premiere of a second orchestral work at the BBC Proms in August 2016 under conductor Sakari Oramo. “Falling in the Fire”, a cello concerto written for Guy Johnston, is Charlotte Bray’s first politically motivated work. It reflects her “moral outrage” at the destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria last summer by IS, and the humanitarian catastrophe that has come about through war and conflict in the country.
“At the Speed of Stillness” for orchestra has been selected for the World New Music Days in Vancouver; its Canadian premiere will be given in November 2017 by the Vancouver Symhony Orchestra under its Music Director Bramwell Tovey. In May 2018, the London Sinfonietta will premiere a new piece for ensemble, and Ralf Ehlers and Lucas Fels from the Arditti Quartet will perform a new duo for viola and cello. This will be followed by a new work written for violist Tabea Zimmermann in July, commissioned by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
In recognition of her achievements and growing reputation, Charlotte was awarded the 2010 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize and appointed as apprentice Composer-in-Residence with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/Sound and Music (2009/10). She was the inaugural Composer-in-Residence at the Oxford Lieder Festival (2011) and Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival (2015). Charlotte is an Honorary member of the Birmingham Conservatoire and was named as their Alumni of the Year 2014 in the field of Excellence in Sport or the Arts. She was winner of the Lili Boulanger Prize and a Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent (2014). Residencies include the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire (2013 and 2015), Liguria Study Centre in Bogliasco (2013), and Aldeburgh Music (2010 and 2015). She was selected as a MacDowell Colony Norton Stevens Fellow (2015-16) and was visiting professor at the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya in Barcelona for the winter semester 2016/17. Her debut recording “At the Speed of Stillness” was released in October 2014 on NMC Records.
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