Robert Saxton

b. 1953



Robert Saxton was born in London in 1953 and started composing at the age of six. Guidance in early years from Benjamin Britten and Elisabeth Lutyens was followed by periods of study at both Cambridge and Oxford Universities with Robin Holloway and Robert Sherlaw Johnson respectively, and also with Luciano Berio.


Robert Saxton (b. 1953) studied with Elisabeth Lutyens, Robin Holloway, Robert Sherlaw Johnson and Luciano Berio following guidance from Benjamin Britten. He won the Gaudeamus International Composers prize in 1975 and a Fulbright Arts Fellowship to the USA in 1985-86 and was awarded DMus, Oxford in 1994. He was Head of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (1991-98) then at the Royal Academy of Music (1998-99) and has been Professor of Composition and Tutorial Fellow in music at Worcester College, Oxford University since 1999. He has directed the composers' course at Dartington International Summer School and was artistic director of Opera Lab. He was a member of the Southbank Centre board for nine years and is Composer in Association at the Purcell School.

Robert Saxton has written major works for orchestras, choirs and chamber groups including the BBC (TV, Proms and Radio), LSO and London Sinfonietta; festivals including Huddersfield, Three Choirs and Cheltenham; and soloists including Teresa Cahill, Steven Isserlis and Mstislav Rostropovich. He was Head of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Head of Composition and Contemporary Music at the Royal Academy of Music, and is currently Professor of Composition and Tutorial Fellow in Music at Worcester College at the University of Oxford. Recordings have appeared on the Sony Classical, Hyperion, Metier, EMI, NMC, Signum and Divine Art labels.

Robert Saxton’s Quartet No. 3 was commissioned by the Southbank Centre, London and premiered by the Arditti Quartet. His radio opera, The Wandering Jew, was recorded and broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Performance on 3 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers and released on NMC in 2011. A major study of his 1991 opera ‘Caritas’ by Wyndham Thomas was published by Ashgate Press in 2012. Recent commissions include ‘Time and the Seasons’, a song cycle for Roderick Williams and Andrew West at the Oxford Lieder Festival 2013; ‘Shakespeare Scenes’, a Trumpet Concerto for Simon Desbruslais and the Orchestra of the Swan, released on Signum in 2014; ‘Hortus Musicae’, a piano cycle for Clare Hammond at the City of London Festival; and new works for the City of Cambridge Brass Band, Merton College, Oxford, and the Presteigne Festival. He was a Frontline Composer for the Park Lane Group Young Artists New Year Series 2015 and was composer-in-residence at the Presteigne Festival in 2016.

He is married to the soprano, Teresa Cahill.

Robert Saxton is published by Chester Music, UYMP and Ricordi.

March 2 2015