Brian Ferneyhough


Brian Ferneyhough was born in Coventry, England on 16 January 1943.

He received formal musical training at the Birmingham School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, London.

In 1968 he was awarded the Mendelssohn Scholarship, which enabled him to continue his studies in Amsterdam with Ton de Leeuw, and the following year obtained a scholarship to study with Klaus Huber at the Basel Conservatoire.

Following Ferneyhough's move to mainland Europe, his music began to receive much wider recognition.

At the 1968 Gaudeamus Composers' Competition in Holland he was awarded a prize for Sonatas for String Quartet and this success was repeated in 1969 and 1970 with Epicycle and Missa Brevis.

The Italian section of the ISCM at its 1972 competition gave Ferneyhough an honorable mention (second place) for Firecycle Beta and two years later a special prize for Time and Motion Study III which was considered the best work submitted in all categories.

Ferneyhough has also been the recipient of a Heinrich Strobel Foundation bursary from South West German Radio (1973), a German Academic Exchange award for 1976-77 and the Koussevitsky award for Transit which was judged to be the best contemporary work recorded in 1978.

He was made Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1984 and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 1990.

From 1973 to 1986 Ferneyhough taught composition at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg, Germany. Between 1984 and 1987 he regularly gave master classes at the Civica Scuola di Musica, Milan.

In 1986-87 he held the position of principal composition teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague.

He has been a Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego since 1987.

At the biennial Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt Ferneyhough has given lectures and classes since 1976; since 1984 he has been the composition course co-ordinator.

Other prestigious academic engagements include Guest Professorships at the Royal Conservatoire, Stockholm and the University of Chicago, and invitations to lecture at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris and several North American universities and colleges.

He has also directed courses in composition at the Fondation Royaumont, near Paris, since 1990.

Ferneyhough's music has been performed throughout the world and has been featured at all the major European festivals of contemporary music: Berlin, Brussels, Darmstadt, Donaueschingen, Glasgow, Helsinki, Holland, Huddersfield, La Rochelle, London (Almeida), Metz, Milan, Middelburg, Paris (Festival d'Automne), Royan, Strasbourg, Venice and Warsaw.

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