David Knotts first came to public attention as a finalist in the 1994 Young Musician of the Year Competition when the London Sinfonietta premièred his first large-scale work, Songs of Parting; since then he has received commissions from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Endymion Ensemble, English National Opera, Composers Ensemble, the Britten Estate (to celebrate the re-opening of Aldeburgh’s Jubilee Hall) and a series of pieces for the Schubert Ensemble.
Knotts studied with Robin Holloway (at Cambridge University) and Robert Saxton (Guildhall School of Music and Drama), completing a doctorate in composition with Martin Butler in 2004. In 2007, he was made an honorary associate of the Royal Academy of Music where he has taught since 1994; he is also a member of staff at Trinity College of Music.
Much of his music reflects his interest in writers ranging from Virgil (Secret Gardens) to Viginia Woolf (...and fall and rise, and fall and rise again.../To the Lighthouse) and Tasso (Adorni di Canto) to Zhang Dai (Nightwatching: ways of looking at the moon). There is also a keen interest in folk poetry: Albanian laments in A Sea Green Partridge of April, Cretan love poetry in Bring Down an Angel and Spanish ballads in The Count Arnau. His work with writer Katharine Craik has produced two chamber operas, Stormlight and Bake for One Hour; his collaboration with Tamsin Collison for the Knack, Mister Purcell – his Ground, was premièred at the Royal Opera House in 2006.
Recent commissions have included a collaboration with Barnsley poet Ian McMillan for Robert Ziegler and the Matrix Ensemble and works for the Presteigne Festival. Future commissions include new works for the Lawson Piano Trio, the Leopold String Trio, cellist Gemma Rosefield (winner of the 2007 Fournier Prize) and the Schubert Ensemble.