David Lancaster House composer

David Lancaster is a composer whose work has been performed, recorded and broadcast internationally.

Originally from Wigan (Lancashire, UK), David began his musical career on trumpet before studying music at York and Cambridge universities. As a young composer he gained several important awards including the Lloyds Bank Young Composer Award, Michael Tippett Award, LCM Centenary Prize and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival Composer Award; his music was performed by Kronos Quartet, Lontano, Electric Phoenix, Nancy Ruffer, Alexander Baillie and others.

Following an extended silence David returned to composing in 2007. In recent years his music has been subject to a dramatic simplification of style in a search for greater clarity of form and expression. He is particularly interested in narrative forms and especially in applying cinematographic techniques (such as montage) into his music. He enjoys collaborative projects with poets, film makers, choreographers and performers.

In November 2013 Strata was given its first performance by the Orchestra of Opera North; it was subsequently recorded for CD by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra (under Mikel Toms) in June 2015.

In 2016 David’s large-scale choral work Apocalypse - which tells of the world’s end as depicted in York’s medieval stained glass - was performed in Copenhagen and broadcast by the Danish Radio Vocal Ensemble conducted by Robert Hollingworth. Also that year, David’s violin solo Rough Cut was published by UYMP and received its first London performance given by Peter Sheppard-Skaerved, the piano trio Hiraeth and brass quintet Breathless were premiered and Juice Vocal Ensemble first presented Confound Winter (and subsequently recorded it for their Snow Queens CD).

2017 saw the first American performance of Fallen and the premiere of The Dark Gate, a song cycle for Peyee Chen and Kate Ledger based on the words of David Vogel who perished at Auschwitz in 1944; Gentle (for soprano and marimba) was released on CD by PercusSing. In March 2018 the Delta Saxophone Quartet released a new recording of Swan.

In 2018 David completed a large-scale collaborative project with poet Abi Curtis (performed in July amongst the extensive medieval wall paintings in Pickering Church which inspired them) and a major choral/orchestral setting of John Donne’s Holy Sonnets for the Oxford Harmonic Choir, to be performed in June 2019.

In 2016 David Lancaster completed PhD in Composition at the University of York, supervised by Professor Roger Marsh. He is Director of Music at York St John University and is Director of York’s Late Music concert series. David lives in York with his partner Bridget.

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