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Contemporary Music
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Adam Gorb
1958 -

Born in 1958, Adam Gorb started composing at the age of ten. At fifteen he wrote a set of piano pieces - A Pianist’s Alphabet - of which a selection were performed on BBC Radio 3. In 1977 he went to Cambridge University to study music, where his teachers included Hugh Wood and Robin Holloway. After graduating in 1980 he divided his time between composition and working as a musician in the theatre. In 1987 Gorb began private studies with Paul Patterson. He continued to study with Patterson from 1991 at the Royal Academy of Music, where he gained a MMus degree and graduated with the highest honours, including the Principal’s Prize in 1993.


Notable works include Metropolis for wind band, for which he won several prizes including the Walter Beeler Memorial Prize in the USA in 1994, Prelude, Interlude and Postlude for piano which won the Purcell Composition Prize in 1995, Kol Simcha, a ballet given over fifty performances by the Rambert Dance Company and Awayday for Wind Band which has had several thousand performances since its premiere in 1996 and has been commercially recorded several times. A Violin Sonata was premiered at the Spitalfields Festival in London in 1996, and Reconciliation for Clarinet and Piano was commissioned for the Park Lane Young Artists New Year series. In 1998 Elements, a Percussion Concerto written for Evelyn Glennie and the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Ensemble was premiered at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and released on CD in 2001.

In 1999 the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vernon Handley, gave the first performance of his Clarinet Concerto for Nicholas Cox. The year 2000 saw the premiere of Weimar for large chamber ensemble, while his String quartet No. 1 was premiered by the Maggini Quartet at Bromsgrove music club in February 2002. Towards Nirvana was given its first performance by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Ensemble in October 2002 in Japan, and the piece went on to win a British Composer Award in 2004. Diaspora for eleven strings was given its premiere by the Goldberg Ensemble at the RNCM in February 2003, and November 2003 saw the first performance of Dances From Crete at the Royal College of Music in London.

2004 saw the premieres of French Dances Revisited in Minnesota, USA, and La Cloche Felee for soprano and pinao in London’s Purcell Room. Burlesque, for the British Clarinet Ensemble was first performed in 2005, again in the USA, and in 2006 the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra gave the first performance of Awakening in Manchester, with the premiere performance of Adrenaline City for the US Air Force Academy Band coming in the same year. Adrenaline City earned Gorb a further British Composer Award in 2008. Fasolt’s Revenge, commissioned to mark the 40th anniversary of the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble, was premiered in 2007 in Tennessee and subsequently performed at the Carnegie Hall in New York. In March 2007 Thoughts Scribbled on a Blank Wall, based on the writings of the former political prisoner John McCarthy, for bass soloist, chorus, brass quintet and organ was premiered to great acclaim in St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street and received further performances in prestigious venues including Canterbury Cathedral and Kings College Cambridge. 2009 saw Gorb win a third British Composer Award for Farewell and the premieres of Into the Light for eight cellos at the RNCM and String Quartet No.2.

Adam Gorb has been featured as composer-in-association at Luton and Bromsgrove Music Clubs. He is a leading figure in composition education at the highest level, and since 2000 has been Head of School of Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He has also taught at universities in the USA, Canada and Japan and many European countries.



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