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Mark-Anthony Turnage

Mark-Anthony Turnage

Country of origin: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Birthday: June 10, 1960

Upcoming Performances

Set to
Conductor: Umberto Clerici
March 1, 2024 | Queensland, QLD (Australia) , Queensland Conservatorium Theatre, Griffith University
Set to
Conductor: Max Lawrence
Orchestra: GSMD Student Dectet
May 24, 2024 | London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , Milton Court

About Mark-Anthony Turnage

A composer of truly international stature, Mark-Anthony Turnage is among the most relevant communicators and creators of today. His orchestral and operatic music is often forthright and confrontational, unafraid to mirror the realities of modern life, yet its energy is exhilarating. With his flair for vivid titles, and his complete absorption of jazz elements into a contemporary classical style, Turnage produces work with a strong appeal to an enquiring, often young audience. At the same time his music is capable of expressing deep tenderness, especially emotions associated with loss.
 

Born in Britain in 1960, Turnage studied with Oliver Knussen and John Lambert, and later with Gunther Schuller. With the encouragement of Hans Werner Henze, he wrote his first opera for the Munich Biennale Festival, Greek (1986-88), which received a triumphant premiere in 1988. The many ensuing productions worldwide established Turnage’s international reputation. The important works that followed, Three Screaming Popes (1988-89), Kai (1989-90), Momentum (1990-91) and Drowned Out (1992-93), stemmed from a four-year period as Composer in Association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle, from 1989 to 1993.

Three years later Blood on the Floor (1993-96) was commissioned by Ensemble Modern. Written for John Scofield, Peter Erskine and Martin Robertson, it demonstrates Turnage’s ability to draw inspiration from the unique sounds of particular performers, often working in close collaboration.

Turnage’s major work in the late Nineties was his second full-length opera, The Silver Tassie (1997-99), premiered in February 2000 to exceptional acclaim at English National Opera, where he was Composer in Association. It won both the South Bank Show and Olivier Awards for Opera in 2001.

The new century also brought Turnage’s appointment in 2000 as the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s first Associate Composer culminating in a major Turnage weekend at the Barbican in January 2003.

In the autumn of 2002, Sir Simon Rattle conducted Blood on the Floor at one of his first concerts as Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, attracting a largely new, younger audience to the Berlin Philharmonie and generating the Berlin Philharmonic’s first major education project. Rattle and the Berlin Philarmonic have commissioned Ceres, an "orchestral asteroid" which received its premiere performance in March 2007. Other significant works from the new century include Bass Inventions (1999-2000), premiered by the bass player Dave Holland in Amsterdam in May 2001, and Scorched (1996-2001), co-written with John Scofield for jazz trio and orchestra, premiered in September 2002 with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Big Band conducted by Hugh Wolff.

Working during the 2004/05 season with the London Philharmonic led to Turnage's appointment as Composer in Residence with the London Philharmonic from 2006 to 2010. The residency was celebrated with Turnage's first violin concerto, Mambo, Blues and Tarnatella, written for Christian Teztlaff and the LPO with Vladimir Jurowski and premiered at the South Bank Centre in September 2009, with subsequent performances in Stockholm and Toronto from the co-commissioning partners.

Turnage was also appointed Mead Composer in Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2006 to 2010 during which time the CSO gave the US premiere of Scorched under Steven Sloane.

Much of Turnage’s music is recorded on Decca, Chandos and Black Box. Scorched, on Deutsche Grammophon, was nominated for a Grammy, while Etudes and Elegies (2000-02) is out on Warner. Turnage is Research Fellow in Composition at the Royal College of Music.

 

Worklist

Chronology

1960
Born 10 June at Corringham, in Essex
1966
Begins piano lessons
1969
First attempts at composition
1974
Accepted by the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music; studies composition with Oliver Knussen
1981
"Night Dances" awarded the Guinness Prize for composition
1982

First performances of "Night Dances" for orchestra by the London Sinfonietta
 

1983

Wins a Mendelssohn Scholarship enabling him to attend the Tanglewood Summer School, where he studies with Gunther Schuller and informally with Hans Werner Henze

1985

"On All Fours", commissioned by the London Sinfonietta

1987
"Release", composed for a BBC Television documentary as part of the 'Sound on Film' series
1988
First performance of "Greek" at the Munich Biennale; UK premiere at the Edinburgh Festival
1989
"Three Screaming Popes" first performed in Birmingham
1990

Becomes Composer-in-Association with the CBSO; "Kai", for cello and ensemble, written for the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

1991

"Some Days" premiered at the BBC Proms

1992
"Leaving", composed for the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus
1993
"Drowned Out" marks the end of Birmingham residency; "Your Rockaby", for soprano saxophone and orchestra completed
1995
Becomes Composer-in-Association at English National Opera

"Dispelling the Fears" (orchestral version)
1996
First complete performance of "Blood on the Floor"
1997

Aldeburgh Festival premieres of "Twice through the Heart" and "The Country of the Blind"

1998
"Silent Cities", for orchestra premiered in Tokyo
1999

"Your Rockaby" featured in BBC TV documentary series 'Six Pieces of Britain'

2000-2003
Associate Composer with the BBC Symphony Orchestra
2001

"The Silver Tassie" wins a South Bank Show Award and Olivier Award for opera

2002

Simon Rattle performs "Blood on the Floor" in his opening concerts as Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic

2003

Major retrospective at the Barbican Centre, London in conjunction with the BBC

2004
Composer in Residence at the Mortizburg Festival
2005

"Scorched" nominated for two Grammys

2006
Lecturer at Tanglewood
2006-2010

Becomes Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Composer in Residence with the London Philharmonic Orchestra

2007
Composer in Residence at the Risør Festival, Norway
2010

Composer in Residence, Cabrillo Music Festival, California

2011

Honorary Doctor of Music from Royal Holloway, University of London

2015

Awarded a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

Products

Performances

Set Descending Direction
  • Set to
    Conductor: Umberto Clerici
    March 1, 2024 | Queensland, QLD (Australia) , Queensland Conservatorium Theatre, Griffith University
  • Set to
    Conductor: Max Lawrence
    Orchestra: GSMD Student Dectet
    May 24, 2024 | London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , Milton Court
  • Set Descending Direction