Emma-Ruth Richards on composition - Britten Sinfonia

Emma-Ruth Richards on composition

In December 2017, Britten Sinfonia gives the world premiere of a new work by Emma-Ruth Richards commissioned by the William Alwyn Foundation and Britten Sinfonia with support from donors to the Musically Gifted scheme. In this blog Emma-Ruth talks about her inspirations, advice for other composers and more…

Emma-Ruth Richards

Emma-Ruth Richards

What’s your earliest musical memory?
•    Sitting watching my nursery school teacher play the piano – I’m still in touch with her to this day!

What has inspired you most recently?
•    Reading Anthony Gormley On Sculpture
•    Ideas from C.S.Lewis’ A Grief Observed
•    Helen Grime’s recent Wigmore concert
•    Nick Daniel / Britten Sinfonia Wigmore concert with the premiere of Brian Elias’ Oboe Quintet
•    Working with Tim Gill for London Sinfonietta Shorts commission
•    Dante’s Vita Nouva
•    Anna Akhmatova’s poetry
•    Imran Qureshi’s Where the Shadows are so Deep installation at The Curve (Barbican)
•    Men and Girls Dance – Fevered Sleep production
•    Tom Coult’s music
•    Mahan Esfahani’s performance of four Scarlatti Sonatas (G minor in particular)

What advice would you give to aspiring composers?
•    Go to concerts
•    Listen to a lot of music
•    Work hard
•    Learn from workshops
•    Build relationships with performers you admire
•    Be patient
•    Send your music to people
•    Build a professional website

What would you like to be recognised for?
•    Beautifully crafted music that speaks clearly and powerfully
•    A strong harmonic language with reverence for tradition but capable of fearlessly unleashing brutal sounds at extreme pressure points
•    Music that performers love to play

If you turned your iPod on now, what would be playing?
•    Housefires II worship band

The last concert you saw or performed in?
•    The last two performances I attended were Tom Adès’ Exterminating Angel at the Royal Opera House and George Vass’s 60th Birthday celebration concert at StJohn Smith Square

Which musical instrument do you wish you could play, and why?
•    Cello – because I used to play but haven’t kept it up and some of my happiest moments were playing in orchestras when I was at college.

If you hadn’t been a musician what might have happened, or not happened, in your life and career?
•    I’d work with an anti-trafficking charity to rescue men and women from slavery.
•    If I hadn’t pursued music I would have probably missed all the reading that I have done to deepen my knowledge of other art forms. I also wouldn’t have had the opportunity to teach/be inspired by all the amazing children that come to my house for piano lessons.

Career highlight?
•    I’ve wanted to work with Britten Sinfonia for so long, so this opportunity has to be right at the top!


You can help support Emma-Ruth Richards new work via our Musically Gifted scheme. From as little as £10 you will not only be helping to create new music but your name will appear in the score alongside a whole host of other benefits. Find out more here.

Book tickets to the world premiere of Emma-Ruth’s new piece, performed alongside Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem here