Mark-Anthony Turnage is a composer of international stature, whose orchestral and operatic music is often forthright and confrontational, mirroring the realities of modern life. His absorption of jazz elements into a contemporary classical style produces work with a strong appeal to an enquiring, often young, audience.
Born in Britain in 1960, Turnage studied with Oliver Knussen and John Lambert, and later with Gunther Schuller. He has written three full length operas: Greek, received a triumphant premiere at the Munich Biennale festival in 1988; The Silver Tassie, premiered in 2000 at English National Opera, and won both the South Bank Show and Olivier Awards for Opera; and his latest, Anna Nicole, was premiered at Covent Garden in Spring 2011 with six sold-out houses and broadcasts on television and radio.
Turnage served as Composer in Association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle from 1989 to 1993; BBC Symphony Orchestra’s first Associate Composer in 2000, culminating in a major Turnage weekend at the Barbican in January 2003; Composer in Residence with the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 2005-2010; Mead Composer in Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2006-2010; as well, he is Research Fellow in Composition at the Royal College of Music.
Turnage has enjoyed premieres and commissions from leading orchestras around the world. Three Screaming Popes, Kai, Momentum and Drowned Out, were written for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Blood on the Floor was commissioned for Ensemble Modern. Ceres was commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic; Bass Inventions, premiered by the bass player Dave Holland in Amsterdam, and Scorched, co-written with John Scofield for jazz trio and orchestra, premiered in 2002 with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Big Band. During his Chicago Symphony Orchestra tenure from 2006-2010, he wrote From All Sides and Chicago Remains. Other commissions include Scherzoid for the New York and London Philharmonic orchestras, and his viola concerto On Opened Ground for the Cleveland Orchestra.
In recent years he has written two ballet scores: Undance for Sadler’s Wells, a collaboration with Wayne McGregor and Mark Wallinger, and Trespass for the Royal Ballet, choreographed by Alastair Marriott and Christopher Wheeldon. A new cello concerto for Paul Watkins received its premiere in 2012 and 2013 Turnage was featured composer with the London Symphony Orchestra, for whom he wrote Speranza, which will receive its West Coast premiere at the Cabrillo Festival on Saturday, August 2, 2014, at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.