Cathy Nelson Artists and Projects
The Courthouse
Hereford HR3 6AW
tel: +44 (0)1981 551903
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Richard Causton - Composer
'…one of the most courageous and uncompromising artists working today'

Richard Causton studied at the University of York, the Royal College of Music and the Scuola Civica in Milan with Franco Donatoni.  His music often challenges performers to reach unusual realms of expression to achieve his intentions - it may be an unusual instrument, or an unconventional tuning. He is an exceptionally adventurous and single-minded composer, gifted with a precise and individual aural imagination that can be breath-taking.

Causton’s music has been performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken, London Sinfonietta, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Britten Sinfonia and the Nash Ensemble.   His music has been recorded on the Metier, Delphian and London Sinfonietta labels and most recently on NMC, whose portrait disc - Millennium Scenes NMC D192- was listed as 'Outstanding' in International Record Review and was No.1 in the Sunday Times' 100 Best Records of the Year 2014 (Contemporary Composers section).

Causton’s first came to prominence withThe Persistence of Memory premiered at London’s South Bank Centre with the London Sinfonietta directed by Oliver Knussen, the title taken from Salvador Dali’s famous painting ‘Melting Clocks’. In the wake of this came commissions from the Nash Ensemble Notturno and Rituals of Hunting and Blooding and from the BBC Symphony Orchestra Millennium Scenes. Tim Ashley, Guardian - ‘a bold, terminal work which conveys the atmosphere of the fin de siècle before casting off the current century…. a street party on the edge of catastrophe…virtuoso stuff’. The avowedly political dimension in Millennium Scenes is the mark of this composer’s preoccupation – like Blake, whom he frequently cites, he dreams his dreams yet keeps his eyes unflinchingly open up the world in which we live.

His Chamber Symphony from 2009 was commissioned by BCMG and has been given subsequent performances by the Philharmonia at London’s South Bank Centre and at NY’s Lincoln Center. The work reflects Causton’s ongoing preoccupation with the poetry and imagery of William Blake, whose work attracts him for its combination of exalted psychedelic fantasy with a social awareness and compassion way ahead of its time.    

Twenty-Seven Heavens
for orchestra was commissioned as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and premièred at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Edinburgh Festival under the direction of Gianandrea Noseda. Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph – ‘The real discovery was Richard Causton’s 27 Heavens….as sharply outlined and brilliantly coloured as a stained glass window…one could feel the music trying to’ slip the surly bonds of earth’ which it eventually did in a way that was thrilling and subtly poetic’.

Ik Zeg:Nu for orchestra was premiered by Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in January 2019.  ‘Now-ness and then-ness move in parallel in this spacious, beautifully constructed work’ – Anna Picard, The Times;  ‘…holds two timeframes in play simultaneously, and brilliantly’ Erica Jeal, The Guardian. Subsequently selected by BBC Radio 3 as one of just to works to represent the UK at the International Rostrum of Composers, Causton’s work has now been broadcast in dozens of countries worldwide. He recently completed a new work for BCMG and his song cycle La Terra Imparreggiabilwill be released later this year in a new recording from Marcus Farnsworth and Huw Watkins on the NMC label.

Awards include the Mendelssohn Scholarship, First Prize in the International ‘Nuove Sincronie’ Composition Competition, a British Composer Award and a Royal Philharmonic Society Award.

Causton has held a position as House Composer at English National Opera and is currently Professor of Composition at the University of Cambridge.

April 2022