Ed Hughes's compositions have been commissioned and performed by The Opera Group, London Sinfonietta, I Fagiolini, BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra and many ensembles and soloists, including the New Music Players which he directs. He studied composition with Michael Finnissy, Robin Holloway and Alexander Goehr. His work, described as ‘polyphonic, clear and unique’ (Richard Casey, pianist), ranges from solo works to large-scale compositions including works for orchestra, opera and film.
Ed completed a chamber opera in 2012 for five voices, ensemble and electronics, When the Flame Dies, which responded to Jean Cocteau's 1950 film Orphée; it was released by Metier/Divine Art on DVD in 2013, was the subject of essays by scholars Prof James Williams and Prof Michal Grover-Friedlander, and was subsequently reviewed in Gramophone, International Record Review and Tempo. His scores to the classic silent films by Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, Battleship Potemkin (1925) and Strike (1924), were released in 5.1 sound on a DVD set by Tartan (2007). Extracts from Ed’s score to Battleship Potemkin were included in the TV series ‘The Story of Film’ by Mark Cousins (More 4, 2011). A CD, Dark Formations, was released in 2012, also on the Metier label.
Ed has been nominated four times for British Composer Awards and, in 2014, his solo organ composition Chaconne for Jonathan Harvey won the liturgical category.His mini-opera ‘The Feast That Went Off With A Bang’ with a libretto by Peter Cant toured the UK with Mahogany Opera’s ‘Snappy Operas’ project in 2016. Ed was commissioned by the Brighton Festival to write major works with silent film in 2016 and 2018 for the Orchestra of Sound and Light, which he founded in 2015. ‘Brighton: Symphony of a City’, with a film by Lizzie Thynne, sold out Brighton Dome at its premiere in 2016 and was released on the DVD ‘Symphonic Visions – New Music for Silent Films’ on Divine Art Recordings in February 2018. ‘Symphonic Visions’ also includes new scores for silent films including ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (1902) and The Nose (1963) performed by the New Music Players, Orchestra of Sound and Light, and pianists Richard Casey and Clare Hammond. ‘Cuckmere: A Portrait’ with a film by Cesca Eaton was premiered at the Brighton Festival in May 2018 by the Orchestra of Sound and Light. Recent and future performances include ‘Tallis [in ieiunio et fletu]’ at the Tallis Festival at the University of Sussex and a new work ‘Sinfonia’ for the New Music Players at The Warehouse in September 2018.
Ed Hughes lives in Lewes and is currently Deputy Head of the School of Media, Film and Music at the University of Sussex. His personal website is at www.edhughes.org.uk.