Ed Hughes's work as a composer has become known in recent years following major commissions from the City of London Festival (an opera The Birds) and the Brighton Festival (including a new score to Sergei Eisenstein's classic silent film Battleship Potemkin). These works have toured to the Salamanca Festival (2005) and to the Sydney Festival (2005) in the Sydney Opera House, where his collaboration with the distinguished Japanese textile artist Teruyoshi Yoshida was given six performances live by the Seymour Group. His 2001 score to Ivens's Rain continues to be performed widely, most recently by the Israel Contemporary Players in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in May 2007, where it was broadcast on Israeli network radio, and as part of the International Hanns Eisler Conference in Berlin in November 2008.
His collaboration with Yoshida (Memory of Colour) was nominated for a British Composer Award in 2005. His opera The Birds, performed by The Opera Group and I Fagiolini was awarded the Gresham College Prize and was profiled live on BBC Radio 3 with extracts performed by the cast.
He was commissioned by Glyndebourne Opera and Photoworks to write a new orchestral score to the Sophy Rickett film (commissioned simultaneously) about Glyndebourne entitled 'AUDITORIUM'. The joint work premiered live at Glyndebourne on 17 November 2007. Subsequent installation venues included the De La Warr Pavilion, Tate Modern, Ffotogallery Cardiff, Palazzo Santa Margherita Modena, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea Turin and Nichido Contemporary Art Tokyo. 'AUDITORIUM' was shortlisted for a British Composer Award in 2008. Auditorium continues to tour internationally with installations in Alsace and Berwick on Tweed in 2009.
He has had performances at a national level including Oxford Playhouse, Cheltenham Festival, Buxton Opera House, South Bank Centre in London, and many of his works have been recorded and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. 'Strike Sketches' was broadcast on Hear and Now in May 2008 and extracts of 'AUDITORIUM' were broadcast in December 2008.
In 2006 he was awarded a grant by the Arts Council England to write a score for the silent film Strike, also by Eisenstein. This work was completed in 2007 and premiered at the Barbican in July. It toured the UK in 2007 and was released by Tartan Video in a box-set of Eisenstein's early films, also including Battleship Potemkin. The Israel Contemporary Players gave two live performances of Battleship Potemkin in Tel Aviv in May 2008.
He was commissioned by the Tacet Ensemble to write a work for them and the folk duo Spiers and Boden. The work was premiered at Komedia in Brighton on 29 November 2008, followed by a UK tour.
In November 2008 Ed's new opera 'Cocteau in the Underworld', a collaboration with librettist Roger Morris, was workshopped by the ROH2 OperaGenesis Programme. A revised version was performed at the Brighton Festival on Monday 4 May 2009 and further extracts were performed at the Linbury Theatre in April 2010. A new staging by Metta Theatre was premiered at Grimeborne in August 2010 with a UK tour planned for spring 2012.
Performances in 2010 included performances by the Camilleri Trio of his Trio (in memoriam David Osmond Smith) in Southampton, Oxford and Malta, and the world premiere of A Buried Flame by Bath Camerata directed by Nigel Perrin on Good Friday in Wells Cathedral based on poems by prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Bath Camerata also performed Bring Us O Lord God in Madrid in August.
The New Music Players, founded by Ed Hughes in 1990, premiered two major new works at Kings Place in September 2010: Chamber Concerto and Dark Formations, the latter the first part of an ongoing collaboration with David Chandler and the Imperial War Museum exploring WW2 archive footage. Chamber Concerto featured as 'Premiere of the Fortnight' in Classical Music Magazine in September 2010.
'Sun, New Moon and Women Shouting' was performed in a new version for chamber choir by the BBC Singers and Robert Hollingworth in December 2010 and the BFI will release a DVD set featuring his score for Ozu's 1932 silent film 'I was born but...' in January 2011.
Ed Hughes lives in Lewes and lectures in Music at the University of Sussex. He is represented by the University of York Music Press and Sound and Music.