Julian Anderson was born in London in 1967 and studied composition with John Lambert, Alexander Goehr and Tristan Murail. His first acknowledged work, Diptych (1990) for orchestra, won the 1992 Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Young Composers. His two commissions for the London Sinfonietta, Khorovod (1994) and Alhambra Fantasy (2000), have been widely performed by leading ensembles across Europe and the USA. His other most-played works include the orchestral BBC Proms commission The Stations of the Sun (1998) which has been taken up by both the Boston Symphony and Cleveland Orchestras, and the chamber work Poetry Nearing Silence (1997), a commission from the Nash Ensemble.
From 1996 to 2001 Anderson was Composer in Residence with the chamber orchestra Sinfonia 21; between 2000 and 2005 he was Composer in Association with the CBSO, for whom he completed three orchestral works: Imagin’d Corners (2002) for five horns and orchestra, Symphony (2004), winner of a British Composer Award and Eden, written for the opening concert of the 2005 Cheltenham Festival. He also wrote Book of Hours (2005) for BCMG, for ensemble and electronics, which won an 2006 RPS Award, and Four American Choruses for the CBSO Chorus. All of these works can be heard on NMC’s Gramophone Award-nominated disc Book of Hours (NMC D121).
More recently Anderson’s interest in choral music led to a BBC Proms commission Heaven is Shy of Earth (2006) for mezzo-soprano, chorus and orchestra, and Alleluia (2007), commissioned by the South Bank Centre for the re-opening of the refurbished Royal Festival Hall. He has also written for dance: a ballet based on Darwin’s Origin of the Species, choreographed by Mark Baldwin, was premiered in 2009, while The Comedy of Change was a joint commission from Rambert Dance and the Asko Ensemble.
Anderson has also been Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s ‘Music of Today’ series (since 2002), Composer in Focus of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (2002-03) and the Cleveland Orchestra’s Daniel Lewis Young Composer Fellow (2005-07). Anderson was Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music from 1996 and was Head of Composition there from 1999 to 2004. From 2004 -7 he was Fanny Mason Professor of Music at Harvard University. He returned to the UK in 2007 to work as a freelance composer and take up a newly devised post at Guildhall School of Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence.