Helen Grime has been commissioned by such prestigious ensembles and organisations as the BBC Proms, London Symphony Orchestra, Aldeburgh Festival, Hallé, Tanglewood Music Center and Wigmore Hall, and for such notable occasions as the 75th anniversary of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the 60th birthday of conductor Oliver Knussen. Widely performed by both British and international orchestras, including the Orchestre de Paris and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, her music has been championed by such leading conductors as Pierre Boulez, Sir Mark Elder, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Daniel Harding and Stéphane Denève, and broadcast by the BBC on both Radio 3 and Radio 4. She was appointed Associate Composer to the Hallé in 2011.

Born in 1981, Helen studied oboe with John Anderson and composition with Julian Anderson and Edwin Roxburgh at the Royal College of Music. In 2003 she won a British Composer Award for her Oboe Concerto, and was awarded all the major composition prizes in the RCM. In 2008 she was awarded a Leonard Bernstein Fellowship to study at the Tanglewood Music Center. She became a lecturer in composition at the Department of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London, in January 2010. Already something of a calling-card, her short orchestral piece Virga, commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra in partnership with UBS, was premiered by the London Symphony Orchestra under Yan Pascal Tortelier in 2007, and has subsequently been performed by, among others, the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Oliver Knussen, the Orchestre de Paris under Pierre Boulez and by the Hallé under Sir Mark Elder.

Other major commissions and premieres include Into the faded air, first performed by the Britten Sinfonia in 2008; A Cold Spring, premiered by BCMG under Oliver Knussen at the 2009 Aldeburgh Festival; a Clarinet Concerto for the Tanglewood Music Center’s 2009 Festival; Everyone Sang, written for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s 75th anniversary in 2010; and To see the summer sky, for violin and viola, first heard alongside the UK premiere of her Clarinet Concerto at a Philharmonia Music of Today concert in 2010, the year in which she was awarded the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund.

More recently, Night Songs was premiered by Knussen and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the 2012 BBC Proms; her critically acclaimed Oboe Quartet (2012), was given its UK premiere by Nicholas Daniel and members of the Britten Sinfonia at the Wigmore Hall; and Near Midnight, Helen’s first commissioned work as Associate Composer of the Hallé, was premiered by the orchestra under Sir Mark Elder at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester in May 2013. Future projects include a double concerto for clarinet and trumpet, to be premiered in the Hallé’s 2014-15 season, and a new string trio co-commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Wigmore Hall for 2015.

Image credit: 
Jonathan Wrather