Anthony Payne studied at the University of Durham. He began to compose professionally in 1965, having spent a number of a years as a music critic. In the 1960s and -70s he worked within a framework of Schoenbergian serialism, turning later to a new idiom that seemed to follow on from and build upon the tradition established by English composers in the first half of the twentieth century. Payne is primarily a chamber music composer, though his writing is no less self-assured in larger forms, as demonstrated in works such as Time's Arrow and his highly acclaimed completion of Elgar's Third Symphony.