Cheryl Frances-Hoad

b. 1980



Frances-Hoad drenched each phrase in dramatic expression of the most ravishing intensity. (Matthew Wright, The Arts Desk)

Admired for her originality, fluency and professionalism, Cheryl Frances-Hoad has been composing to commission since she was fifteen. Classical tradition (she trained as a cellist and pianist at the Menuhin School before going on to Cambridge and King's College, London) along with diverse contemporary inspirations including literature, painting and dance, have contributed to a creative presence provocatively her own.

Intricate in argument, sometimes impassioned, sometimes mercurial, always compelling in its authority (Robin Holloway, The Spectator), her output - widely premiered, broadcast and commercially recorded, reaching audiences from the Proms to outreach workshops - addresses all genres from opera, ballet and concerto to song, chamber and solo music.

© Ates Orga


Podcast: Composing Myself - Wise Music Group’s CEO Dave Holley and Creative Director Gill Graham chat to Cheryl Frances-Hoad.

Critical Acclaim
Frances-Hoad's music is melodic, passionate, equal parts humour and reverence...I urge you to become acquainted with this composer's work. Her music is worth your time. - American Record Guide

..What a sound. Frances-Hoad drenched each phrase in dramatic expression – wonderment and horror, principally – of the most ravishing intensity. Dissonant chords of breathtaking complexity squirmed and spun, while exposed vocal lines, pitched and balanced perfectly by this core of singers, weaved an astonishing tapestry of vocal and emotional colours. - Matthew Wright, The Arts Desk


Cheryl Frances-Hoad was born in Essex in 1980 and received her musical education at the Yehudi Menuhin School, the University of Cambridge (where she was awarded a double 1st for her BA in Music and a distinction for her MPhil in Composition) and Kings College London (PhD, Composition). Her music has been described as "like a declaration of faith in the eternal verities of composition” (The Times), with "a voice overflowing not only with ideas, but also with the discipline and artistry necessary to harness them” (The Scotsman).

Chosen to be a featured composer on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Composer of the Week’ (‘Five under 35, March 2015), her works have garnered many awards, from the BBC Lloyds Bank Composer of the Year award when she was just 15 to more recently the Mendelssohn Scholarship, The Bliss Prize, The Cambridge Composers Competition, The Robert Helps International Composition Prize (USA), The Sun River Prize (China), The International String Orchestra Composition Prize (Malta), The RPS Composition Prize, and three Ivor Novello (formally BASCA) British Composer Awards (for Psalm 1 and Stolen Rhythm in 2010, and Scenes from the Wild in 2022).

She has received two awards from the PRS Women Make Music Fund (for The Madness Industry (a brass quintet for Onyx Brass) and Sailing to the Marvellous (a ninety minute oratorio for four choirs and ensemble for Bridlington Priory) and has held the posts of Leverhulme Musician in Residence (at the University of Cambridge Psychiatry Department, 2008), Rambert Composer in Residence (2012/13), Opera North/Leeds University Cultural Fellow in Opera Related Arts (2010/12), and Visiting Research Fellow in the Creative Arts at Merton College Oxford (2021/2). Cheryl was also one of the first recipients of the PRS Composer's Fund Awards, in 2016.

Cheryl has released six celebrated CDs. Her recent disc of vocal music (featuring Nicky Spence, Sophie Daneman, Mark Stone and Sholto Kynoch amongst others) was released on the Champs Hill Records label in November 2018. Magic Lantern Tales has been highly praised: "the longer you listen to this beautifully crafted CD (…) the deeper you fall under its spell” (SWR2 Treffpunkt Klassik, Germany), "Frances-Hoad’s Magic Lantern Tales disorientate and delight in equal measure.” (Opera Today). Her 2011 CD of chamber works, The Glory Tree, was selected as "Chamber Music Choice” by BBC Music Magazine.

Cheryl’s works include two piano concertos, a Cello Concerto (Katharsis), three piano trios, a ninety minute opera about the life of Amy Johnston (Amy’s Last Dive with librettist Adam Strickson), and several large scale works involving young musicians (A Young Person’s Guide to Composition was premiered by the London Chamber Orchestra and 150 children conducted by Christopher Warren Green in May 2014). 2015 saw Cheryl's BBC Proms debut with a new work for the Cardinall's Musick entitled From the Beginning of the World.

Recent projects includeYour servantElizabeth, commissioned by the BBC Proms for the 'Platinum Jubilee' Prom on 22nd July 2022 at the Royal Albert Hall. The work, which paid homage to both Queen Elizabeth II and William Byrd, was picked by Ivan Hewett in The Telegraph as the highlight of the 2022 Proms season: “like all the best “classical music”, it was fresh and surprising, yet rooted in tradition, and gave plenty of hope that an embattled art form has plenty of life in it yet”. Cheryl was composer-in-residence at Presteigne Festival 2019 and was Associate Composer at Oxford Lieder Festival from 2019-2021: her half-hour song cycle, everything grows extravagantly, written with poet Kate Wakeling was premiered by baritone Marcus Farnsworth and Libby Burgess in 2021 at St. John the Evangelist, Oxford and was chosen as one of the five best classical events of 2021 by The Times. November 2021 brought the premiere of Scenes from the Wild, a 70 minute cycle for tenor and chamber orchestra, commissioned to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of City of London Sinfonia, and in May 2023 Laura van der Heijden will premiere Cheryl's new cello concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth.

The music of Cheryl Frances-Hoad is published by Chester Music Limited, part of Wise Music Group.



29th May 2024

Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
Mark Williams
Magdalen College, Oxford, United Kingdom

24th June 2024

James Newby, baritone; Joseph Middleton, piano
Wigmore Hall, London, United Kingdom

26th July 2024

Laura van der Heijden
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Ryan Wigglesworth
Royal Albert Hall, London, United Kingdom

25th August 2024

Marcus Farnsworth
Southwell Minster, Southwell, United Kingdom

22nd March 2025

Göteborg Symphony Orchestra Choir; Göteborg Symphony Orchestra Vocal Ensemble
Katie Thomas
Johannesberg Church, Göteborg, Sweden


  • Celebrating Women Composers
  • 'Composing Myself' podcast by Wise Music
    • 'Composing Myself' podcast by Wise Music
    • Composing Myself is an official Wise Music Group podcast series celebrating Wise Music’s 50th anniversary, presented by CEO Dave Holley and Creative Director Gill Graham. Over the course of this series, they talk to various Wise Music published composers around the world about their lives in and out of music along with excerpts of the composers works included in the podcasts.
  • Recent Orchestral Highlights
  • The Best Recordings of 2022 from Wise Music Classical
  • Choral Highlights 2022
    • Choral Highlights 2022
    • In recent months and for the season ahead the Wise Music choral catalogues are once again burgeoning with new works. There are new pieces and publications from Richard Allain, Peter Bruun, Britta Byström, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Matthew Martin, Paul Mealor, Nico Muhly, Owain Park, Joby Talbot and Judith Weir, plus new repertoire from recent Australian signing Ross Edwards.