Professor Adam Gorb was born in 1958 and started composing at the age of ten. At fifteen he wrote a set of piano pieces – A Pianist’s Alphabet –of which a selection were performed by Susan Bradshaw on BBC Radio 3. In 1977 he went to Cambridge University to study music, where his teachers included Hugh Wood and Robin Holloway. After graduating in 1980 he divided his time between composition and working as a musician in the theatre. In 1987 he started studying privately with Paul Patterson, and then, from 1991 at the Royal, Academy of Music where he gained a MMus degree and graduated with the highest honours, including the Principal’s Prize in 1993.
His works have been performed, broadcast and recorded worldwide. Notable pieces include Metropolis for Wind Band (1992), which has won several prizes including the Walter Beeler Memorial Prize in the USA in 1994. Prelude, Interlude and Postlude for piano, won the Purcell Composition Prize in 1995. Kol Simcha, a ballet given over fifty performances by the Rambert Dance Company and Awayday (1996) for Wind Band which, along with Yiddish Dances, (1998) also for Wind Band have had thousands of performances world-wide, and many commercial recordings. A Violin Sonata was premiered at the Spitalfields Festival in London in 1996. Reconciliation for Clarinet and Piano was commissioned for the Park Lane Young Artists New Year series in 1998, and Elements, a Percussion Concerto written for Evelyn Glennie and the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Ensemble in 1998 was released on CD in 2001. Since 1999 premieres have included a Clarinet Concerto for Nicholas Cox and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, A Distant Mirror for Brass Band in 2000, Weimar for chamber ensemble, also in 2000 and Downtown Diversions, a trombone concerto, in Texas in February 2001.
Other recent works include String quartet no. 1 for the Maggini Quartet, which was premiered at Bromsgrove music club in February 2002, and Towards Nirvana, which received its first performance by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Ensemble in October 2002, winning a British Composer award in the in the Wind and Brass ensemble category in 2004. Diaspora for eleven strings was given its premiere by the Goldberg Ensemble conducted by Malcolm Layfield at their contemporary music festival at the RNCM in February 2003, and November 2003 saw the first performance of Dances From Crete at the Royal College of Music in London.
2004 saw the premieres of French Dances Revisited in Minnesota, USA, and La Cloche Felee for soprano and piano in the Purcell Room. Burlesque for clarinet ensemble, was first played in the USA in 2005. 2006 was notable for the first performance of Awakening for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Adrenaline City for the USA Air Force Academy Band. This work went on to win another British Composer Award in 2008. Fasolt’s Revenge for the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble and A Better Place for the Zephyr Ensemble of Great Britain were also premiered in 2006.
In 2007-8 a cantata Thoughts Scribbled on a Blank wall (based on the experiences of the political prisoner John McCarthy who co-wrote the libretto with Ben Kaye) received several performances in prestigious venues including Canterbury Cathedral and Kings College Cambridge. Two more Wind Band works: Midnight in Buenos Aires and Farewell (winner of a third British Composer Award in 2009) have seen the light of day along with Serenade for Spring (2008) for small orchestra which had its premiere at the Hampstead and Highgate Festival. Most recently Into The Light for eight cellos was premiered at the RNCM, and String Quartet no. 2 was played by the Tippett Quartet. 2010 saw the premieres of Absinthe for piano and War of the Worlds for Wind Ensemble, and in November Eternal Voices; a large scale choral work with words by Ben Kaye was premiered at Exeter cathedral with the Exeter Festival Chorus and the Band of the Royal Marines.
In 2010 a CD devoted to his works was released on the NMC label. Another CD featuring solo and duo works was released on the Prima Facie label in 2011. In March 2012 his opera Anya 17 was performed in Liverpool and Manchester to great acclaim and went on to win the Best stage or film production dealing with human trafficking at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards in the House of Commons.
Adam Gorb has been a visiting lecturer in composition in universities and conservatoires in the USA, Canada, Tokyo, Vienna, Vilnius, Istanbul, The Hague, Brussels and Verona. He is Head of School of Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.