“She began composing only eight years ago, when 21 years old, but has already bagged an impressive series of commissions (Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Verbier among others) and emerged as one of the outstanding composing talents of her generation.”
(The Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential Londoners)
The composer Charlotte Bray has emerged as an outstanding talent of her generation. Her music exhibits an uninhibited ambition and desire to communicate and is described as vivid, exhilarating, and richly expressive with a lyrical intensity.
Charlotte is working with an increasingly wide range of musicians and ensembles. Currently writing two pieces for piano trio, for the Albany Trio (London), and the Oberon Trio (Berlin); later this year she will be working with Swedish saxophonist Johannes Thorell, and writing a choral work for the Chester Cathedral Choir. 2015 will see the premiere and UK tour of her chamber opera commissioned by Opera Nova and directed by George Vass; Charlotte is collaborating with librettist Amy Rosenthal on the story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in England.
2014 will see the release of her Debut Disc with NMC. Premières include Shadow Game for Ensemble 360 (Music in the Round commission); Black Rainbow, a CBSO commission for their youth orchestra, composed at The MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire; her string quintet The Sun was Chasing Venus for the Dover Quartet at Savannah Music Festival, Georgia; and Suya Dalmak, for solo cello and tape, commissioned by cellist Isang Enders and due to be premiered at Festival 3B, Germany, a work created with the support of a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship.
Aldeburgh Festival 2013 saw the premiere of two of her works: a mezzo soprano cycle Fire Burning in Snow, for Lucy Schaufer and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; and two Blake settings On the Green for the New London Children’s Choir, a Royal Philharmonic Society commission. Other highlights from the year: Oneiroi, solo piano work commissioned by the Festspiele Europäische Wochen Passau, for Mona Asuka Ott; soprano cycle Yellow Leaves, for Claire Booth and Andrew Matthews-Owen; Soft City, a work inspired by a short film by Olivier Ruellet, performed by Counterpoise; and Quicksilver, commissioned by The Mercury Quartet.
Notable achievements include her BBC Proms 2012 commission At the Speed of Stillness for Sir Mark Elder and the Aldeburgh World Orchestra; the US première will take place in Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music 2014; Beyond a Fallen Tree by the London Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding; Verre de Venise (Aldeburgh, Aix-en-Provence and Verbier co-commission); Scenes from Wonderland for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, soloist Jennifer Pike, and violinists from London Music Masters; and Invisible Cities, commissioned by Verbier Festival for Lawrence Power and Julien Quentin.
Born in Britain in 1982, Charlotte studied at Birmingham Conservatoire under Joe Cutler, and the Royal College of Music, with Mark Anthony Turnage. She participated in the Britten-Pears Contemporary Composition Course in 2007 with Oliver Knussen, Colin Matthews, and Magnus Lindberg; and at Tanglewood Music Centre in 2008 with John Harbison, Michael Gandolfi, Shulamit Ran, and Augusta Read-Thomas.
She has won numerous prizes, including the RPS composition prize 2010, resulting in a piano quartet commission for Cheltenham International Music Festival. Appointed apprentice Composer-in-Residence with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/Sound and Music for 2009/10, during which time she wrote her chamber violin concerto, Caught in Treetops, premiered by Alexandra Wood and Oliver Knussen. As inaugural Composer-in-Residence with Oxford Lieder Festival 2011 Charlotte composed a new baritone cycle for Roderick Williams. She is an Honorary Member of Birmingham Conservatoire.
Documentary film and performance of BBC Proms commissioned work At the Speed of Stillness
Sir Mark Elder conducts the Aldeburgh World Orchestra