Thomas Adès (b. 1 March 1971, London) is a British composer, pianist and conductor.
Adès was born in London to art historian Dawn Adès and poet Timothy Adès. He studied piano with Paul Berkowitz and later composition with Robert Saxton at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. After attending University College School, he achieved a double starred first in 1992 at King's College, Cambridge, studying with Alexander Goehr and Robin Holloway.
Renowned as both composer and performer, he works regularly with the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies and festivals. His compositions include three operas: The Exterminating Angel, The Tempest and Powder Her Face. His orchestral works include Asyla (1997), In Seven Days (2008), and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2019). His compositions also include numerous celebrated chamber and solo works.
As a conductor, Thomas appears regularly with the Los Angeles, San Francisco and London Philharmonic orchestras, the Boston, London, BBC and City of Birmingham, Symphony orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouworkest, Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Czech Philharmonic. In opera, he has conducted The Rake’s Progress at the Royal Opera House, and Gerald Barry’s latest opera Alice’s Adventures Under Ground in Los Angeles.
His piano engagements include solo recitals at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium), New York and the Wigmore Hall in London, and concerto appearances with the New York Philharmonic.
He was made Britten Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, and in 2004 was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Essex.
In 2007 a retrospective festival of his work was presented at the Barbican Arts Centre in London and he was the focus of Radio France's annual contemporary music festival, "Présences" and Helsinki's "Musica Nova" festival. The Barbican festival, "Traced Overhead: The Musical World of Thomas Adès", included the UK premiere of a new work for Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, Tevot. Journalist Tom Service wrote of the piece, "Of any piece of new music I've heard at its premiere, this is one of the most immediately, richly powerful." In the spring of 2007, The Tempest returned to the Royal Opera House.
In 2009, he was the focus of Stockholm Concert Hall's annual Composer Festival and was in 2010 appointed foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In 2015, Adès was elected into the board of directors of the European Academy of Music Theatre.
In 2015 he was awarded the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize and in spring 2020 he received the Toru Takemitsu composition award at Tokyo Opera City where he conducted a concert of his own music.
Mr. Adès has been an artistic partner of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 2016. He coaches piano and chamber music annually at the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove.
Works for Winds
- Living Toys (1993)