Daniel Elms

b. 1985



Electroacoustic urban pictures. Created from bold, geometric patterns, and intricate orchestral textures fused to post-industrial soundscapes. Daniel Elms’ distinctive music elicits total immersion into its intimate, emotive and abstracted commentaries on humanist, social and progressive subjects.

In 2017, Elms’ music heralded the rebirth of his hometown, Hull. He manifested shimmering electronics and ghosts of the region’s maritime past in his composition Bethia and created a spectral mist through which cut the carillon bells of Hull Minster during New Music Biennial at Hull City of Culture 2017 — commissioned by the British Film Institute.

The boiling social tensions of 2018 were captured by Elms in the engrossing, monolithic 100 Demons, which was commissioned by Manchester Collective. The piece toured throughout the UK and was the first work in a series that Elms created for the burgeoning contemporary music group.

In 2019, Elms released his debut album Islandia through Brooklyn-based label New Amsterdam Records — a label dedicated, like Elms, to transcending traditional and outdated genre distinctions. The five works for chamber orchestra, electric guitar, synthesisers and found sounds ruminated upon the post-industrial coastal towns and people of North East England. The album — described by broadcaster Elizabeth Alker as “incandescent”, “enchanting” and “intoxicatingly comforting” — was first sketched at the former home of Imogen Holst in Autumn 2015, courtesy of the Britten-Pears foundation, and was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in June 2017.

Elms’ music has been performed at venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, King’s Place, the White Hotel, the Stoller Hall, Penny Red Arts and Cobalt Studios. Performers of Elms’ music include Richard Harwood, Peter Gregson, Joby Burgess, Manchester Collective, the Jubilee Quartet; members of the London Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and Welsh National Opera. Broadcasters of Elms’ music include BBC Radio 3’s In Tune and Unclassified, Hulu, Netflix, BBC Television, Sky and FX.

A prolific collaborator with other mediums, Elms has created musical scores for a variety of feature films and dramatic works including: the BAFTA-nominated Ralph, the Academy-Award nominated Library of Burned BooksPlaques and Tangles at Royal Court Theatre, and he composed additional music for Ridley Scott’s Taboo, which was Emmy-nominated for best score. Elms has also lent his technical abilities in the recording, production and editing of music to HBO’s My Brilliant Friend, the Academy-Award nominated Never Look Away, J.J. Abrams’ 11.22.63, and the captivating Promise at Dawn.

A scholarship graduate of the Royal College of Music, Elms studied composition under Kenneth Hesketh and Joseph Horowitz, and his study was generously supported by the AHRC and Countess of Munster Musical Trust. Elms is the recipient of the Emerging Excellence Award 2013 by the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, recipient of PRS Foundation’s Composer’s Fund 2018, and he was an associate member of LSO Soundhub 2017-19.


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