Biography & Career Highlights
Following a childhood spent partly in Germany and Iran, Brian Inglis (b. Münster, 1969) studied music at the University of Durham and composition at City University, London – his MA was awarded in 1993 (along with the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers’ Prize), and his PhD in 1999. His principal teachers were John Casken and Roger Redgate (Durham); Simon Holt and Rhian Samuel (City). Outside academia, he has attended the Dartington International Summer School (studying with Stephen Montague and Miguel Mera), Aberystwyth’s Musicfest (studying with John Metcalfe) and the Dundaga Workshop (Latvia) in 2004 where he was interviewed for Latvian TV.
Brian first came to attention as a composer when his Responsory – a setting of words by Hildegard of Bingen – was performed at the 1992 Huddersfield Festival. Further Hildegard settings followed, culminating in an opera about her life – Hildegard von Bingen (1997) – part of which was included in Brian’s doctoral submission. Another early interest was the poetry of the First World War, which was combined with Brian’s Hildegardian concerns in the oratorio Visions of Sorrow and Joy (1998-9): a commission from Bath Choral Society sponsored by Making Music’s pilot ‘Adopt a Composer’ scheme, mentored by Diana Burrell. Brian’s music has also been heard at the Sonorities festival (Belfast, 1997) and the South Bank Centre’s Birtwistle festival (2004).
A composer with Celtic connections, Brian lived in Wales from 1997-1999. In 1999 he was chosen for a commission to celebrate the Millennium in Wales, leading to the composition of Jubilee Prayer (setting texts from Leviticus and Davydd ap Gwilym) performed at Cardiff’s Tabernacl and broadcast on BBC2, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru in 2000. His music has also been broadcast on BBC radios 1 and 3, Resonance FM (London) and Bayern 2 (Germany).
A keen collaborator across generic boundaries, from 2003 to 2007 Brian was a member of the band Hicks Milligan-Prophecy (signed to Atomicduster Records), supporting The Fall and Alabama 3 and appearing at festivals in the UK (Secret Garden Party) and Sweden (I Kärlekens Namn). He has collaborated with singer-songwriter Tim Holehouse, arranging strings for and playing the piano on the album From the Dawn Chorus (2007). From 2006 to 2010 he also worked occasionally with ‘nonsense facilitators’ Lost and Found, accompanying their Helium Choir performances at Bestival and Spitalfields Christmas festivals and on Rob da Bank’s Radio 1 show.
Having collaborated with the artist Derek Shiel on a work with spiritual themes for Gallery Oldham (Manchester) and the Guildford International Music Festival, a commission for Shiel’s sound sculptures was premièred by Sarah Leonard and Sculpted Sound at the Central School of Speech and Drama (April 2009) to celebrate the centenary of Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto.
In 2008 and 2009, the one-woman opera The Song of Margery Kempe was given its concert première by Loré Lixenberg at the Tête-à-Tête opera festival (Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London) supported by the Bliss Trust/PRS Foundation – (2009 production designed by Paul Burgess). Brian’s third opera, The Break-Up, a six-word operatic miniature written for the Warehouse Ensemble was performed at the 2011 Tête-à-Tête festival.
In February 2009 Brian curated Gabriel Prokofiev’s groundbreaking classical club night Nonclassical at the Macbeth, Hoxton (London), and in the summer of the same year he spent time as Composer-in-Residence at the International Centre for Composers in Visby, Gotland (Sweden). Recent work includes a commission for all-girl recorder ensemble Consortium5, Burmese Pictures, which toured across the UK between 2010 and 2012 (taking in the Deal Festival, Spitalfields Festival and Oxfordshire’s Truck Festival along the way) and was released on the Nonclassical record label (NONCLSS 008) in 2011.
Brian’s most recent large-scale commission is Highbury Fields, a cantata for chorus and orchestra written in collaboration with lyricist Charles Hart, (The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Love Never Dies), premièred at London’s Cadogan Hall in June 2013 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Islington Choral Society. His Concerto for Piano Solo, in honour of the bicentenary of the birth of French composer Charles-Valentin Alkan, was premièred by Gabriel Keen at the 2nd Stoke Newington Contemporary Music Festival in November 2013.
A lecturer at Middlesex University, Brian has also worked in teaching, music publishing and performing right administration. He is a writer of articles, programme notes, profiles, marketing copy and reviews for organisations including the BBC (BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Proms), the PRS magazine M and the contemporary music journal Tempo. Brian is a Trustee of the Hildegard Network UK and of Nonclassical, and a founder of the Stoke Newington Contemporary Music Festival.