Brian Ferneyhough

From Wind Repertory Project
Brian Ferneyhough


Brian Ferneyhough (b. 16 January 1943, Coventry, U.K.) is a British composer and educator living in the United States.

Ferneyhough received formal musical training at the Birmingham School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music from 1966–67, where he studied with Lennox Berkeley. Ferneyhough was awarded the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1968 and moved to mainland Europe to study with Ton de Leeuw in Amsterdam, and later with Klaus Huber in Basel.

Between 1973 and 1986 he taught composition at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, Germany, where his students included Toshio Hosokawa, Joël-François Durand, and Rodney Sharman.

The Royan Festival of 1974 saw the premiere of Cassandra's Dream Song, the first of several pieces for solo flute, as well as Missa Brevis, written for 12 singers. In 1975, performances of his work for large ensemble Transit and Time and Motion Study III were given, the former piece being awarded a Koussevitzky prize, the latter performed at the Donaueschingen festival. In many of these events he was paired with fellow British composer Michael Finnissy, with whom he became friends during his student days. In 1984 he was given the title Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Between 1987 and 1999 Ferneyhough served as professor of music at the University of California, San Diego. His graduate students at UCSD included composers Chaya Czernowin and Mark Applebaum, among many others. In 2000, he became William H. Bonsall Professor in Music at Stanford University. For the 2007–08 academic year, he was visiting professor at the Harvard University Department of Music. Between 1978 and 1994 Ferneyhough was also a composition lecturer at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse and, since 1990, has directed an annual master course at the Fondation Royaumont in France.

In 2007, Ferneyhough received the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize for lifetime achievement. In 2009 he was appointed foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

In 2012 he was awarded an honorary DMus from Goldsmiths, University of London. In December 2018 he received an honorary degree from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire for his contribution to contemporary classical music.

Works for Winds