Opus 1: Getting to know... Greg May - Britten Sinfonia - News & Blog

Opus 1: Getting to know… Greg May

Meet Greg May, a composer, serial improvisor and crisp fanatic from Bedfordshire. Find out more about him here:


  • What are you looking forward to about being part of Opus 1?

Working with fabulous musicians and meeting like-minded composers. I hope this will be a rich learning experience, picking up knowledge from the tutors, musicians, and other composers on the scheme.


  • What inspires you to compose?

It’s like an itch that I can’t quite get rid of! I always enjoy writing for specific people too, and often feel inspired to write after hearing music that I love.


  • What sort of music do you like to write?

Difficult question! I often like to write very ornate and lyrical melodic lines, with harmony that (to my ears) is very soft-edged, with lots of whole-tones in it. I’m always keen to create the clearest textures I can, so that you can always hear everything that’s going on.


  • How did you get into composition?

I would spend time improvising (instead of practising) at the piano when I was younger, and I would always try to write these improvisations down. In many ways this is what I’m still doing!


  • Why do you think creating new music is important?

I feel that any kind of creativity is important, even if only for the creator themselves. If the music communicates to listeners and performers then that’s even better.

  • What’s your biggest compositional ambition?

To write something that communicates strongly to somebody, whether that be a listener or a performer.


  • What 3 pieces of music would you have to have on your desert island?

Messiaen – Éclairs sur l’au-delà…

Lorde – Pure Heroine (if I’m allowed a whole album!)

Tchaikovsky – Symphony 5 (mainly for the 1st movement)

… I change my mind daily about this kind of thing, so tomorrow’s list might be totally different!


  • What is the best snack?

Crisps (absolutely any kind and flavour)


You can discover more about Greg’s work on his website.

Click here to meet the rest of our 2022 Opus 1 cohort

Click here to meet our previous Opus 1 composers