Thomas Adès is one of the most successful and most performed composers of the present day: already with his official opus 1, the T.S. Eliot setting [Three Eliot Landscapes], three publishers vied for its publication. Adès is, as he says himself, “also on the road as a performer”: as a gifted piano virtuoso with solo recitals at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Wigmore Hall in London, and as a conductor who regularly works with the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies and festivals.
After studying music and composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and King’s College, Cambridge, the 22-year-old Thomas Adès became the resident composer of the Hallé Orchestra, one of Britain’s oldest orchestras. Two years later, he scored a global hit with his first opera, [Powder Her Face], about the scandalous “Dirty Duchess” of Argyll: a satirical piece which is interspersed with familiar motifs from cabaret, musicals and the tango of the 1930s to 1960s. This was followed in 1997 by the no less successful orchestral piece [Asyla] for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle, for which the composer was awarded the Grawemeyer Award, and which Rattle included in the programme for his inaugural concert as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2002. In 1998, Adès was appointed to the Benjamin Britten Chair of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and from 1999 to 2008 he was artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival, which was founded by Benjamin Britten. For many years, the London-born Adès has been artistic partner of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and he also regularly conducts in the USA. The acclaimed stage composer is also successful as an opera conductor: at houses such as the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Royal Opera House and Wiener Staatsoper.