“The music is duly playful and occasionally disturbing. The sound image of a face forming from shapeless buzzing was beautifully achieved, as was the concluding high G sustained by the soprano, capturing a nicely pared-down Liebestod.” The Guardian
“Venables’s String Quartet — contrasting gestures, driven through three compact movements by a powerful sense of drama and structure.” The Times, UK
“Delicately spun melodies dissolved into bursts of aggression…. gritty, soulful…” The Strad, UK
“Venables’s Fight Music, evoking a community beating up an outsider (the poor whimpering cello) was brutally effective” The Times, UK
“Numbers 76-80: Tristan und Isolde, by Philip Venables, began in a striking fashion with the quartet bashing out perfect fifths fortissimo; as the piece develops the excellent EXAUDI singers spoke most of Simon Howard’s strangely exciting if rather baffling poem. There’s genuine wit here, and pathos, and really terrifically flamboyant writing for the instrumentalists. What a thrilling moment there was when the singers suddenly burst into song rather than the spoken word! This composer is gaining a great reputation for original and sometimes quite brutally exhilarating music, and it’s well worth watching out for him.” Seen and Heard
Philip Venables was born in Chester, UK, in 1979. He went to Jesus College, Cambridge, to read Natural Sciences, and then went on to complete a Masters Degree at the Royal Academy of Music, studying with Philip Cashian, where he was awarded the DipRAM diploma and the Manson Fellowship in Composition, amongst other prizes in composition.
Philip’s music has been performed and broadcast internationally. His Piano Studies won first prize in the International Composition Competition 'From Romanticism to Contemporary' in Bucharest in June 2009. Arc, for the BBC Philharmonic, received a special mention at the 2006 British Academy Composer Awards and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He had his Wigmore Hall debut the same year with the premiere of his complete String Quartet by the Duke Quartet. This piece has been performed more than a dozen times by four different quartets and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and ABC Australian radio. In 2006 Philip was asked to write Praecentio, a prelude to Mozart’s Requiem for the Canterbury Cathedral celebration of Mozart’s 250th Anniversary, performed by Southbank Sinfonia and Nicholas Cleobury.
In the last 3 years Philip’s commissions have included Ensemble 10-10 of the RLPO (ANIMA), Endymion & EXAUDI (Numbers 76-80 : Tristan und Isolde), Ensemble Adapter Berlin (Numbers 91-95), Endymion (Fight music), Bregenz Festival in Austria for Ensemble LUX (In America et ego), the BBC Singers for SPNM (Thalidomide), the BBC Symphony Orchestra for SPNM (Ora) and the Black Dyke Brass Band for the Deal Festival (Lullaby, for solo Euphoniumist David Thornton and Brass Band). Other works have been written for and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the BBC Singers, the Canterbury Sounds New Festivals, Rambert Dance Company, the Cheltenham International Music Festival, the QuantumLoop Animated Film Festival and the Spitalfields Festival.
Philip has also worked as a collaborator, producer and curator on many projects, including the Royal National Theatre’s Street Genius project, the UnCaged festival at the Barbican Centre, and with four projects for Kings Place: Ligeti’s Poéme Symphonique, Music for Amplified Toy Pianos, Rubbish Music and the latest project, CONTACT, involving a novel interactive dance surface with choreographer Lucia Tong. In 2011 he curated and produced DREAMS, a performance at Kings Place featuring his own work plus Viñao and Sciarrino. He produced all the video material for these performances.
Projects in 2012 include The Schmürz, an opera for London Contemporary Opera with librettist Michael Brett, a Wigmore Hall commission and a 45-minute piece for the London Sinfonietta with poet Steven J Fowler, as part of their Blue Touch Paper scheme. Philip is also working on opera projects with Omar Ebrahim, Jorge Balça, Nick Blackburn and the renegade performer David Hoyle.
Philip Venables is the director of the agency Fourfortytwo and the artistic director of the British chamber ensemble Endymion.