Ed Hughes' music ranges from solo to large-scale compositions including orchestra, stage and silent screen. Described as 'enchanting...elaborate and strange, but incontrovertibly English' (Richard Hanlon), commissions have come from The Opera Group, London Sinfonietta, I Fagiolini, Mahogany Opera, Glyndebourne/Photoworks, Brighton Festival and others. Performances have included BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra and many other ensembles and soloists, including ensembles he founded, New Music Players and the Orchestra of Sound and Light. 

Hughes's opera The Birds (2005, libretto by Glyn Maxwell) was commissioned and toured internationally by the Opera Group. His chamber opera When the Flame Dies (2013, libretto by Roger Morris) was commissioned by the Canterbury Festival. His original scores to the classic silent films by Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, Battleship Potemkin and Strike, were released on DVD in 2007, and included in C4’s The Story of Film. His work Chaconne for Jonathan Harvey won a British Composer Award in 2014. His children’s opera The Feast That Went Off With A Bang (2016, libretto by Peter Cant) toured the UK with Mahogany Opera and continues to be performed by young people. Hughes was commissioned by the Brighton Festival to write major works with contemporary silent film including Brighton Symphony of a City (2016) and Cuckmere: A Portrait (2018). These works are included in his albums for Metier Records: Dark Formations (2012), When the Flame Dies (2013), Symphonic Visions (2017), Time, Space and Change (2020, Sunday Times top 100 albums & American Record Guide Critics’ Choice 2020) and Music for the South Downs (2022).

Ed Hughes lives in Lewes and is Professor of Composition at the University of Sussex.

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