Richard Causton was born in London in 1971 and received his early musical education at the ILEA Centre for Young Musicians. Between 1990 and 1994 he studied at the University of York with Roger Marsh and graduated with first-class honours in 1993, taking his M.A. in Composition the following year. He was a Foundation Scholar at the Royal College of Music, where he won both the Kit and Constant Lambert and Herbert Howells Prizes.
Causton went on to win many more awards and competitions following his studies. In May 1997 he was awarded the Mendelssohn Scholarship in its 150th anniversary year. As a result of this, he studied electroacoustic composition at the Scuola Civica di Musica, Milan. His Phoenix was the winner of the 2006 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber-Scale Composition, and The Persistence of Memory (1995), which was premiered by Oliver Knussen and the London Sinfonietta at the South Bank Centre, won the Third International ‘Nuove Sincronie’ Composition Competition. Seven States of Rain, composed for Darragh Morgan (violin) and Mary Dullea (piano), won the Best Instrumental Work category of the 2004 British Composer Awards. Other distinctions include the SPNM George Butterworth Award for the solo piano work, Non mi comporto male (1993), and the first ever Fast Forward composition award for Two Pieces for two clarinets (1995).
Causton founded and runs the Royal College of Music Gamelan Programme and has written Concerto for Solo Percussion and Gamelan, which was given its first performance at the Cheltenham Festival in 2001 with Evelyn Glennie as the soloist. Chorales, a further work for gamelan, was premiered at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge in May 2008.
Causton’s works have been performed at the Spitalfields, Aldeburgh, and Cheltenham Festival in Britain, and the Europäischer Musikmonat in Switzerland. Performers have included the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Basel Symphony Orchestra, CBSO, London Sinfonietta, Nash Ensemble, Sinfonia 21, and Ensemble Corrente (of which he is a founding member).
Some of Causton’s most acclaimed works include Kyrie and Sanctus, an arrangement of two movements from Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame; La Terra Impareggiabile, a song cycle set to poetry by Salvatore Quasimodo; and As Kingfishers Catch Fire, a septet commission for the Britten Sinfonia. Causton's most recent works include Nocturne for 21 Pianos, based on Chopin’s 21 Nocturnes and commissioned by the City of London Festival to mark Chopin’s bicentenary in 2010, and Fantasia and Air, a solo violin work for the Park Lane Group, premiered by Tamsin Waley-Cohen in January 2010 at the Purcell Room in London. Causton's
Dark Processional was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta for joint performance with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Based on material from Pergolesi's Stabat Mater it was premiered by the two ensembles at Kings Place in October 2010. Chamber Symphony was commissioned by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and premiered in October 2009. The Philharmonia Orchestra gave the London premiere of the work in February 2011 at the Royal Festival Hall in London as part of the Music of Today concert series.
In 2012 Causton was commissioned by the European Youth Orchestra as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad to write a new orchestral work. This work, Twenty-Seven Heavens, was premiered at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw under the direction of Gianandrea Noseda.
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