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Snapshot

b. 1956

Sally Beamish is one of the foremost composers of her generation. Her music is emotionally vivid and richly coloured, displaying virtuosic command of her canvas.

Her compositions are programmed by an impressive list of artists, orchestras and ensembles worldwide, including 

  • BBC Symphony Orchestra 
  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Academy of St Martin in the Fields
  • Hallé Orchestra 
  • Britten Sinfonia
  • Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
  • Stavanger, Trondheim and Gothenberg Symphony Orchestras
  • St. Paul, Stuttgart, Swedish and Scottish Chamber Orchestras
  • BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Royal Scottish National Orchestra
  • Manchester Camerata
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra
Ensembles include the 
  • Elias, Carducci, Emperor and Brodsky string quartets
  • Raschèr Saxophone Quartet
  • Scottish Ensemble
  • Fretwork, Psappha, Red Note, Nash, and Hebrides Ensembles
Sally was featured composer at St Magnus Festival (2005), Cheltenham Festival (2006), and Presteigne and Lincoln Festivals (2012)

Sally's interpreters include the following eminent soloists:

  • Evelyn Glennie
  • Branford Marsalis 
  • Steven Isserlis
  • Colin Currie
  • Tabea Zimmermann
  • Ursula Smith
  • James Gilchrist 
  • Anthony Marwood
  • Sharon Bezaly
  • Mark Padmore
  • Håkan Hardenberger
  • Lawrence Power
  • John Harle and
  • Philip Dukes 
Conductors include Rudner, Walker, Kraemer, McGegan, Søndergård, Vänskä, Alsop, Boyd, Knussen and Brabbins
  • Sally's most recent commission, to mark Britten's centenary year, is Variations on a Theme of Benjamin Britten for the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, which had its première on 9 May 2013
  • Sally has a series of recordings on the BIS label
  • She was BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week in 2012
  • Other recent commissions include Albatross, a saxophone sonata for Branford Marsalis; Dance Variations (2nd percussion concerto) for Colin Currie; and Spinal Chords. This last was written for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Juliet Stevenson as part of the PRS for Music 20x12 Cultural Olympiad, to a text by The Times journalist Melanie Reid.
  • The Elias Quartet gave the first performance of Reed Stanzas (String Quartet No.3) at the 2011 BBC Chamber Proms. This work won a 2011 Royal Philharmonic Society Award.
  • Sally is visiting lecturer for composition at Leeds College of Music

Sally Beamish's works number almost 200 and include:

  • 'Variations on a Theme of Benjamin Britten' for chamber orchestra (2013)
  • 'Spinal Chords' for narrator and string orchestra (2012)
  • 'Albatross' for soprano saxophone and piano (2012)
  • 'The Sins' for actor and ensemble  (2011)
  • 'Dance Variations'  Percussion Concerto No.2  (2012)
  • 'Under the Wing of the Rock' for Viola and Strings (2006)
  • 'The Intoxicating Rose Garden' which uses dance and animation as well as music set to poems by the 14th century Persian mystic, Hafez (2012)
  • 'Suite pour Violoncelle et Orchestre'  Debussy/Beamish (2007)
  • 'Viola Concerto No. 2': 'The Seafarer'  (2002)