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Saxton, Robert

The Wandering Jew (2000/10)
Radio Opera in Eight Scenes
Libretto: Robert Saxton
Chor SATB / 3 (Picc). 3 (Eh). 3 (Bkl). 3 (Kfg). / 4. 3. 3. 1. / Pk. Schlzg. Hf. Cel. / Str. / Stage Band: Kl. Vl. Tamb (Tabor).
A staged version is also possible
World Premiere: 7.7.2010, London (BBC)
Duration: 120‘
Sy. 4103 // *Part. / Kla. Sti.

String Quartet No. 3 (2009-11)
World Premiere: London, 10.5.2011
Duration: 17 min.
Sy. 4181 *Part. / *Sti.

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. He won the Gaudeamus International Composers prize in Holland at the age of twenty one. In 1986 he was awarded the Fulbright Arts Fellowship to the USA, where he was in residence at Princeton and was assistant to Oliver Knussen at Tanglewood. In 1995 he co-directed the composers' course on Hoy, with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He has directed the composers' course at Dartington International Summer School on several occasions and was artistic director of Opera Lab. He has also been a regular member of the BBC4 Proms broadcasting commentary team and was a member of the Southbank Centre board for nine years. He is Composer in Association at the Purcell School.

Robert Saxton has written works for the BBC (TV, Proms and Radio), LSO, LPO, ECO, London Sinfonietta, Nash Ensemble, Chilingirian String Quartet, St Paul Chamber Orchestra (USA), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival/Opera North, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, City of London, Three Choirs and Lichfield Festivals, Stephen Darlington and the choir of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford, Susan Milan, Susan Bradshaw and Richard Rodney Bennett, Edward Wickham and The Clerks’ Group, Teresa Cahill, Leon Fleisher, Steven Isserlis, Mstislav Rostropovich, John Wallace and the Raphael Wallfisch and John York duo.

Robert Saxton was Head of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (1991-97) and Head of Composition and Contemporary Music at the Royal Academy of Music from 1998-99. He is currently Professor of Composition and Tutorial Fellow in Music at Worcester College at the University of Oxford and is a Trustee of the Mendelssohn/Boise Foundation. He became a DMus at Oxford in 1992. His music from 1972 until 1998 was published by Chester/Music Sales and, since then, by UYMP and Ricordi. Recordings have appeared on the Sony Classical, Hyperion, Metier, EMI, NMC and Divine Art labels.

Robert Saxton’s Quartet No. 3 was commissioned by the Southbank Centre, London and premiered by the Arditti Quartet in May 2011. 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 June 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 CD; and ‘Hortus Musicae’ parts 1 and 2, a major new piano cycle for pianist Clare Hammond premiered at the City of London Festival in 2013 and at the Presteigne Festival in 2016, where Robert was Featured Composer. The Villiers Quartet performed ‘String Quartet No. 3 on tour in the US and UK in autumn 2016. ‘The Resurrection of the Soldiers’, co-commissioned and premiered by the Presteigne Festival in 2016, was performed at the 2017 Aldeburgh Festival. Future plans include a string quartet for the Kreutzer Quartet and a CD of piano works on Toccata Classics performed by Clare Hammond.

He is married to the soprano, Teresa Cahill.

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