“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.
Notably 2012 saw the première of her BBC Proms commission At the Speed of Stillness for Sir Mark Elder and the Aldeburgh World Orchestra; Making Arrangements, a new chamber opera written for Tête à Tête Opera Festival, London; and Invisible Cities, commissioned by Verbier Festival and performed by Lawrence Power and Julien Quentin.
Charlotte is working with an increasingly wide range of musicians and ensembles. Her 2013 premières include a solo piano work Oneiroi, for Mona Asuka Ott in the Festspiele Europäische Wochen Passau, Germany; a 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. 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.
2014 looks set to be an exciting year too, with premières of a sinfonia concertante work for Ensemble 360 (a Music in the Round commission); a new work for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Orchestra- written whilst resident at the MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire; a string quintet The Sun was Chasing Venus, which the Dover Quartet will perform at Savannah Music Festival, Georgia; and a work for solo cello and electronics commissioned by cellist Isang Enders, due to be premiered at Festival 3B, Wuppertal, Germany, in April.
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 entitled Replay. 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. Oxford Lieder Festival named Charlotte as their first ever Composer-in-Residence in 2011, featuring several performances of her work, including a première by British baritone Roderick Williams of Sonnets and Love Songs. In 2011 Charlotte was made an Honorary Member of Birmingham Conservatoire.
Other notable achievements include 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 her soprano song cycle Midnight Closes, which has been performed on numerous occasions including Wigmore Hall, Music in the Round, and the Purcell Room.
Documentary film and performance of BBC Proms commissioned work At the Speed of Stillness
Sir Mark Elder conducts the Aldeburgh World Orchestra