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Julian Anderson
photo: John Batten

Julian Anderson

Country of origin: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Birthday: April 6, 1967

Upcoming Performances

Nothing At All
Conductor: Andrew Carwood
July 10, 2024 | London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , Wigmore Hall — World Premiere
Catalan Peasant with Guitar
September 5, 2024 | London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , Brunel Museum

About Julian Anderson

Julian Anderson is among the most esteemed and influential composers of his generation, with regular performances both internationally and at home in the UK. Anderson was born in London in 1967 and studied composition with John Lambert, Alexander Goehr and Tristan Murail. He was awarded a prestigious RPS Composition Prize in 1992 at the age of 25 for his two movement work Diptych (1990) for orchestra, launching his career. His success as a composer has also fed a prominent academic career, which has included Senior Composition Professorships at the Royal College of Music (1996-2004), where he was also Head of Composition for 5 years, Harvard University (2004-7), and Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he holds the specially created post of Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence. Anderson is also much in demand as concert programmer and public speaker. Between 2002 and 2011 he was Artistic Director of the Phiharmonia’s Music of Today concert series at the Royal Festival Hall in London, and from 2013 to 2016 he was Composer in Residence at Wigmore Hall.

Close associations and residencies with CBSO, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra have contributed to Anderson’s significant orchestral output. Fantasias (2009) for The Cleveland Orchestra won a British Composer Award, and The Discovery of Heaven (2011), co-commissioned by the LPO and the New York Philharmonic won a South Bank Sky Arts Award. The LPO under Vladimir Jurowski premiered the violin concerto In lieblicher Bläue (2014-15) for Carolin Widmann which was co-commissioned by Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Further orchestral commissions include Incantesimi (2016) commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Society, premiered by Sir Simon Rattle, and The Imaginary Museum (2017), a piano concerto for Steven Osborne co-commissioned by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The 2020/21 season saw world and national premieres of Anderson's cello concerto Litanies (2018-19) written for Alban Gerhardt and following this, Exiles (2021) for voices and orchestra, commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks was premiered in 2022. Symphony No. 2 ‘Prague Panoramas’ (2019-2021), commissioned by the BBC, Munich Philharmonic and The Cleveland Orchestra was premiered at the BBC Proms conducted by the dedicatee Semyon Bychkov.

Anderson’s strong relationships with ensembles including BCMG, the Nash Ensemble, London Sinfonietta, and Asko-Schönberg Ensemble have resulted in many commissions. Book of Hours (2004) for ensemble and electronics was written for BCMG and Oliver Knussen. The work won the RPS Award for Large Scale Composition in 2006, and the following recording on NMC won the 2007 Gramophone Award. Commissioned by Wigmore Hall, the Koussevitzky Foundation and Casa da Música and premiered by the Nash Ensemble, Van Gogh Blue (2015) won both a BASCA Award and the RPS Award for Small Scale Composition. Sensation (2015-16) for solo piano, was commissioned by Aldeburgh Music and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and was premiered by Pierre-Laurent Aimard at the 2016 Aldeburgh Festival. Anderson’s String Quartet No.3 ‘Hana no hanataba’ (2018), co-commissioned by Wigmore Hall and the Tanglewood Music Center, was premiered by the JACK Quartet in April 2018.

Alongside this impressive catalogue of instrumental works is a rich body of choral music. Four American Choruses (2003) was premiered by the Groot Omroepkoor at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. His 2006 oratorio, Heaven is Shy of Earth (rev. 2009) was premiered at the BBC Proms by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, and went on to win a 2007 BASCA award for Choral Composition. Alleluia (2007) for choir and orchestra opened the first season of the refurbished Southbank Centre in London, premiered by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. Further choral works include a Magnificat (2016) for ORA and a Nunc Dimittis (2017) for the Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge.

Thebans, Anderson’s opera based on the Oedipus myth, was highly praised at its premiere production at English National Opera in May 2014 and its German premiere in Bonn in 2015. His music is frequently used for dance and his association with choreographer Mark Baldwin led to the 2009 ballet The Comedy of Change, which toured nationally.

Portrait discs of Anderson’s works have been recorded on NMC (2005 and 2019), Ondine (2006 and 2018) and Delphian (2018). Two discs on the LPO Live label document Anderson’s time as composer in residence with the LPO: The first (Fantasias, 2013) was shortlisted for a 2014 Gramophone Award and the second (In lieblicher Bläue, 2016) won the 2017 BBC Music Magazine ‘Premiere’ Award.

In recognition of his varied musical career, Anderson was awarded the CBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours and the Monaco Chevalier de l’Ordre de Mérite Culturel in October 2022, both for his for his services to music. He is currently President of the Music Council for the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco and Senior Professor of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Most recently, Anderson received the highly coveted 2023 Grawemeyer Award in Musical Composition for his Cello Concerto 'Litanies'. 

Julian Anderson’s music up to 2014 is published by Faber Music. Music written from August 2014 onwards is published by Schott Music.



Born in London.
First attempts at composition.
Private consultations with Oliver Knussen and George Benjamin.
Starts listening to Radio France, where he hears pieces by Grisey, Lachenmann and Radulescu that affect him strongly.
Completes String Quartet No.1 ‘Light Music’, his first acknowledged composition.
Begins to study composition with John Lambert.
Studies spectral composition with Tristan Murail.

Attends summer course in analysis by Olivier Messiaen at the Centre Acanthes, Avignon.
Studies at the Royal College of Music, London.

Earns First Class Honours BMus degree from London University.
Attends Internationale Ferienkurse, Darmstadt.
Attends summer courses with György Ligeti in Szombathely, Hungary and Per Nørgård at Dartington, UK.
Studies with Alexander Goehr at Cambridge University (MPhil in Musical Composition).
Diptych awarded Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Young Composers.
Attends the Contemporary Composition and Performance Course at the Britten-Pears School taught by Oliver Knussen and Colin Matthews.
Benjamin Britten Memorial Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, MA (USA).
Constant and Kit Lambert Fellow at the Royal College of Music.
Featured at BBC Talking Music weekend at the Barbican, London.

Diptych selected work at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers.
Teaches composition, orchestration, analysis and aesthetics at the Royal College of Music.
Composer in Residence with Sinfonia 21.
Head of Composition at the Royal College of Music.
Composer in Residence with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo.
The Bird Sings with its Fingers awarded Best New Dance Work at the South Bank Show Awards.
Attends IRCAM course for electro-acoustic composition.

Four works featured at the 2002 BBC Proms.
Fanny P Mason Professor of Music at Harvard University, MA (USA).
Featured composer at Helsinki Biennale for New Music.
Daniel Lewis Young Composer Fellow with The Cleveland Orchestra.
Book of Hours awarded Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Large Scale Composition.

Heaven is Shy of Earth awarded the British Composer Award for Choral Composition.

Appointed to the Conseil Musical de la Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco.

Appointed Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.

Alleluia for chorus and orchestra opens the newly refurbished Royal Festival Hall, London (London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus cond. Vladimir Jurowski).

Alhambra Fantasy (Ondine) wins Gramophone Award for Contemporary Music; Book of Hours (NMC Recordings) shortlisted for same award.

Composer in Residence with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Transferable Resistance commissioned to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society, London, premiered by London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Appointed Vice President of the Conseil Musical de la Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco.
South Bank Sky Arts Award for The Discovery of Heaven.

Appointed Composer in Residence to the Wigmore Hall, London.

Opera, Thebans, premieres at English National Opera.


"Julian Anderson Orchestral Works" (LPO Live) shortlisted for Gramophone Award for Contemporary Music

In lieblicher Bläue for violin and orchestra (Carolin Widmann/ LPO cond. Vladimir Jurowski).

Van Gogh Blue awarded Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Small-Scale Composition


The Imaginary Museum premiered at the BBC Proms (Steven Osborne/BBC SSO cond. Ilan Volkov)


Awarded BBC Music Magazine Premiere Award for In lieblicher Bläue and Alleluia (LPO Label).


World premiere of Litanies, concerto for cello and orchestra with Alban Gerhardt and Orchestre National de France


Received a CBE in the New Year’s Honours for services to music


Exiles for voices and orchestra received premiere of the complete work with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin


Symphony No. 2 ‘Prague Panoramas’ premiered at the BBC Proms conducted by the dedicatee Semyon Bychkov


Awarded the Monaco Chevalier de l’Ordre de Mérite Culturel.


Winner of the Grawemeyer Award 2023 for Cello Concerto 'Litanies'



Set Descending Direction
  • Nothing At All
    Conductor: Andrew Carwood
    July 10, 2024 | London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , Wigmore Hall — World Premiere
  • Catalan Peasant with Guitar
    September 5, 2024 | London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , Brunel Museum
  • Tombeau
    October 5, 2024 | London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , Wigmore Hall
  • Set Descending Direction