Kenneth Hesketh

Kenneth Hesketh has been described as "a composer at the height of his considerable powers” (BBC Music Magazine) and “one of the UK's most vibrant voices, having a brand of modernism that reveals true love for sound itself” (International Piano). His early interest in other artforms have turned more recently to a fascination with entropy, mutation and existentialism, coexisting with a notable interest in formal design based on the influence of ‘pathways’ (labyrinths and mazes).

He has received numerous national and international commissions from such organisations as the Fromm Foundation, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Göttinger Symphonie Orchester, the Asko ensemble, The Continuum Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia, and Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal. He has been represented at festivals from London (Proms) to the USA (Tanglewood/Bowdoin) to China (Beijing Modern Music Festival). Hesketh has worked with an array of important conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Oliver Knussen, Vasilly Sinaisky, Vasily Petrenko, Susanna Malkki, Christoph-Mathias Mueller, Martyn Brabbins, Ludovic Morlot, Jac van Steen and Pascal Rophé, who described Hesketh as having “a poetry in the way he treats the orchestra; the mixtures, and the colours [with] a strong capacity to build a shape and a dramaturgy in a piece”. 

Awards include the André Chevillion-Yvonne Bonnaud Foundation Prize, France, a British Composer Award in 2017 for his work In Ictu Oculi and shortlisted for an Ivors Academy Award in 2020 (Uncoiling the River).

His work has been recorded by NMC, BIS, Paladino Music, Somm Records, Prima Facie, and Chandos labels. The first NMC recording dedicated to solely to Hesketh’s work (Wunderkammer(konzert), 2013) was devoted to large ensemble and orchestral works. A disc of Hesketh's piano music (Clare Hammond) was released by BIS in 2016; In Ictu Oculi (Paladino Music) was judged one of the Top 100 disc releases in 2018 (The Times) and described as ‘An exhilarating and beautiful synergy of form and expression" (BBC Music Magazine). A Britten Sinfonia release (Somm Records, 2019) spotlighted original and orchestrated works; future releases are planned on the Chandos and Paladino Music labels.

 

 

Biography

Kenneth Hesketh has been described as "a composer at the height of his considerable powers” (BBC Music Magazine) and “one of the UK's most vibrant voices, having a brand of modernism that reveals true love for sound itself” (International Piano). His early interest in other artforms have turned more recently to a fascination with entropy, mutation and existentialism, coexisting with a notable interest in formal design based on the influence of ‘pathways’ (labyrinths and mazes).

He has received numerous national and international commissions from such organisations as the Fromm Foundation, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Göttinger Symphonie Orchester, the Asko ensemble, The Continuum Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia, and Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal. He has been represented at festivals from London (Proms) to the USA (Tanglewood/Bowdoin) to China (Beijing Modern Music Festival). Hesketh has worked with an array of important conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Oliver Knussen, Vasilly Sinaisky, Vasily Petrenko, Susanna Malkki, Christoph-Mathias Mueller, Martyn Brabbins, Ludovic Morlot, Jac van Steen and Pascal Rophé, who described Hesketh as having “a poetry in the way he treats the orchestra; the mixtures, and the colours [with] a strong capacity to build a shape and a dramaturgy in a piece”. 

Awards include the André Chevillion-Yvonne Bonnaud Foundation Prize, France, a British Composer Award in 2017 for his work In Ictu Oculi and shortlisted for an Ivors Academy Award in 2020 (Uncoiling the River).

His work has been recorded by NMC, BIS, Paladino Music, Somm Records, Prima Facie, and Chandos labels. The first NMC recording dedicated to solely to Hesketh’s work (Wunderkammer(konzert), 2013) was devoted to large ensemble and orchestral works. A disc of Hesketh's piano music (Clare Hammond) was released by BIS in 2016; In Ictu Oculi (Paladino Music) was judged one of the Top 100 disc releases in 2018 (The Times) and described as ‘An exhilarating and beautiful synergy of form and expression" (BBC Music Magazine). A Britten Sinfonia release (Somm Records, 2019) spotlighted original and orchestrated works; future releases are planned on the Chandos and Paladino Music labels.

 

 

Recordings by this composer

Recordings
Hesketh album cover

Wunderkammer (konzert)

NMC Recordings

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Compilations with this composer

Compilations
Prism

Mark Simpson: Prism

NMC Recordings

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New Music for Brass Band cover

New Music for Brass Band

NMC Recordings

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Jerwood 6

The Jerwood Series 6: James Olsen, Christian Mason, Larry Goves, Claudia Molitor & Kenneth Hesketh

London Sinfonietta Label

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