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Thomas Adès

Composer

Biography

English composer, conductor and pianist Thomas Adès made his Royal Opera debut in 2004 conducting the world premiere of his second opera The Tempest. He has since returned to conduct The Rake’s Progress, a revival of The Tempest in 2007 and in 2017 his third opera, The Exterminating Angel, a co-commission between The Royal Opera, Salzburg Festival and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. His second opera, Powder her Face was performed at the Royal Opera House in 2008. In the 2019/20 Season he conducts Gerald Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Under Ground for The Royal Opera.

Adès was born in London and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and King’s College, Cambridge. His first opera Powder her Face (1995) has been performed more than two hundred times worldwide. The Tempest has been seen in Strasbourg, Copenhagen, Sante Fe, Toronto, Frankfurt, Budapest, Lübeck and New York. The Metropolitan Opera’s recording of the opera with Deutsche Grammophon won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. The Exterminating Angel won World Premiere of the Year at the 2017 International Opera Awards. His most performed orchestral work, Asyla, was commissioned by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Simon Rattle. Other works include America (New York Philharmonic), Polaris (New World Symphony) and Totentanz (BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Proms). Much of his music has been choreographed for ballet. In 2019 his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was given its world premiere by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Gerstein.

Adès was Music Director of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group 1998–2000, Artistic Director of Aldeburgh Festival 1999–2008, and in September 2016 became Boston Symphony Orchestra’s first Artistic Partner. He regularly conducts orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw, and there have been many international festivals dedicated to his music. Appearances as a pianist include recitals at Carnegie Hall and the Barbican. His many awards include the 2015 Sonning Prize and the 2000 Grawemeyer Award. He was appointed Artistic Partner of the Boston Symphony Orchestra through 2019, and made a CBE in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours. He coaches piano and chamber music annually at the International Musicians Seminar, and gives regular piano recitals in Europe and the USA.

Videos

News and features

Royal Opera House 2018/19 Season announced

20 March 2018
Royal Opera House 2018/19 Season announced

The Royal Ballet and Royal Opera's programme for the coming Season include world premieres, major new productions and classic revivals.

How The Royal Opera has kept opera looking forward for more than three hundred years

25 May 2017
How The Royal Opera has kept opera looking forward for more than three hundred years

The ROH has been home to major opera premieres dating all the way back to our first resident composer Handel – as material from ROH Collections shows.

Thomas Adès on what inspired his new opera The Exterminating Angel

2 May 2017
Thomas Adès on what inspired his new opera <em>The Exterminating Angel</em>

The composer reveals what drew him to Buñuel's Surrealist satire, and how he set about creating his acclaimed operatic adaptation.

Posts by Thomas Adès

Thomas Adès on what inspired his new opera The Exterminating Angel

2 May 2017
Thomas Adès on what inspired his new opera <em>The Exterminating Angel</em>

The composer reveals what drew him to Buñuel's Surrealist satire, and how he set about creating his acclaimed operatic adaptation.

Photos