Born in London in 1953, Anthony Powers studied at Oxford, in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, and at York with David Blake and Bernard Rands. He taught for two years at Dartington College of Arts before being appointed Composer-in-Residence to Southern Arts. He continues to divide his time between composing and teaching, currently at Cardiff University where he has been John Bird Composer-in-Residence since 1991.
Powers's music is characterized by strong architectonic frameworks that support a language of poetic intensity and magical sonorities, often drawing inspiration from the tension between different states, be they physical properties, landscapes, seasons or emotions. Important works include Stone, Water, Stars (1987) and Terrain (1993), both BBC orchestral commissions, The Memory Room (1990), Capricci (1994), Memorials of Sleep (1998), High Windows (1999), and Air and Angels, a major choral work premièred at the Three Choirs Festival in Hereford in August 2003. Symphony No. 2 was premièred in London by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in June 2002, and October 2003 saw the première of From Station Island, a setting of Seamus Heaney for speaker, baritone, and small ensemble performed by Ensemble Musica Viva Hannover. The orchestral work Afar was premièred in 2004.