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Philip Cashian

Nationality: British

Born in Manchester in 1963, Philip Cashian studied with Oliver Knussen and Simon Bainbridge. His fast-paced style of music has been described as ‘an uncompromising reflection of the modern world’.

His wide ranging tastes and influences include Stravinsky, Zappa, Birtwistle, Tom Waits and Sibelius. The visual arts is also a rich source of inspiration: he has written pieces influenced by Chagall, Goya, Bryan Wynter and Leonora Carrington. His music has been performed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony, Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, BCMG, London Sinfonietta, Royal Northern Sinfonia and at the Aspen Music Festival, Ojai Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Bergen Festival, Spitalfields Festival and the BBC Proms as well as recent performances in Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, Holland, Norway, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Lithuania and China. 

Recent commissions include The Cumnor Affair for Têtê a Têtê Opera, the world’s turning for the Esprit Orchestra (Toronto), The Language of Birds for Tabea Debus and Scenes from the Life of Viscount Medardo for Richard Watkins. In 2017 his String Quartet No.2 was premiered by the Gildas Quartet at the St Magnus Festival and Psappha gave the premiere of Leonora Pictures in Manchester. Huw Watkins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Oliver Knussen gave the premiere of his Piano Concerto No.2, The Book of Ingenious Devices, in the 2018 Aldeburgh Festival which was described in The Times as ‘mesmerising music’. 

Cashian has been head of composition at the Royal Academy of Music since 2007. Recordings of his music are available on the NMC label including the two portrait discs Dark Inventions and The House of Night.

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