Anthony Payne


New website now launched including complete Work List, programme notes, links to published works, recordings. 

Anthony Payne

The Villiers Quartet will give the world premiere perfomrance of Anthony Payne's new String Quartet at the Ripon International Festival on 6 September 2018. 

Anthony Payne celebrated his 80th birthday in 2016 with a number of major projects including:

* World premiere of 'Of Land, Sea and Sky', a BBC Proms commission, by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Chorus conducted by Sir Andrew Davis on 26 July 2016

• Performance of The Spirit's Harvest by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on 21 February 2016 

• Performance and broadcast of Time's Arrow by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins on 27 February 2016 - BBC Radio 3's Hear and Now
• Performance and live broadcast of Visions and Journeys by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Jan Pascal Tortelier on 18 March 2016
• CD release of Piano Quartet on Meridian label, summer 2016
• UK Tour by the Primrose Piano Quartet of Piano Quartet, autumn 2016

2016 was an exciting year for composer Anthony Payne with performances and broadcasts of four major orchestral works in London, Manchester and Glasgow and a tour by the Primrose Piano Quartet.

On 21 February the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins performed Payne's 1985 The Spirit's Harvest, first performed at that year's BBC Proms. Stephen Johnson interviewed Anthony Payne about his life as a composer, writer and teacher, and about his work on the realisation of the sketches to Edward Elgar's Third Symphony, for which he is best known.

On 27 February the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins again featured a major orchestral work, Time's Arrow, written for the BBC Proms in 1990. An evocation of the Big Bang, the music of Time's Arrow traces the expansion and contraction of the universe. Vivid rhythmic invention and glowing harmony contribute to a work of uninhibited and exhilarating momentum.

‘Payne's most impressive work to date, and one of the finest pieces of orchestral writing premiered in London in the last ten years... the use of a big orchestra... is imaginative and powerful. An important achievement.' The Guardian, 1990

On 18 March the BBC Philharmonic and Jan Pascal Tortelier perform Visions and Journeys, commissioned in 2002 by the BBC and premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davies at the BBC Proms.

On 26 July the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Chorus conducted by Sir Andrew Davis gave the world premiere performance of 'Of Land, Sea and Sky', a BBC Proms commission. 

Anthony Payne's Piano Quartet will be released on CD on the Meridian label performed by the Primrose Piano Quartet in 2017. The CD also includes works by Elgar, Bowen and Holbrooke. During Autumn 2016 the Primrose Piano Quartet toured the UK performing Piano Quartet, written for and commissioned by the Quartet and premiered at King's Place, London in February 2015. Venues include Gloucester, Durham, and Aberdeen as part of the ‘sound' festival. The Quartet also premiered new arrangements by Anthony Payne of his Mina and Salut d'Amour for piano quartet at their festival in West Meon on 18 September 2016.

'Payne's quiet but thoughtful presence in British music always strikes me as a kind of anchorage in sanity, confirming the continuing life of trusted values' 

The Independent on Sunday


  • One of Britain's most highly respected concert-music composers;
  • Major commissions include 4 large-scale orchestral works for the BBC Proms, including 'Of Land, Sea and Sky' in 2016 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. VISIONS AND JOURNEYS was premiered in 2002 by Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and won the BBC Listeners Award, as part of the new British Composer Awards inaugurated by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters.
  • USA debut at the ISCM World Music Days, Boston 1976 , with Concerto for Orchestra.
  • Choral and chamber works performed worldwide.
  • Extensive discography.
  • Recent commissions include works for the London Sinfonietta, Cheltenham Festival, BBC Proms, Primrose Piano Quartet and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

Press reviews:

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London Sinfonietta/Knussen:

" English gentleness with dissonance... not cowed by sweeping thematic gestures- a striking first commission from London Sinfonietta - and long overdue." 

The Independent 

" ..the impression it leaves is of a single idea sustaining a whole 18-minute movement with gratifying effectiveness"
The Guardian

The Period of Cosmographie, Bridgwater Hall, Manchester, BBC Philharmonic/Noseda

"Harmonically consistent, devoid of gimmickry and masterfully scored, Payne's 20-minute tone poem is never short on atmosphere."
The Telegraph

Second String Quartet, Kings Place

"Cast in a single movement, it works its material with the same seamless consistency and abstract potency as a Sibelius symphony , and communicates the same satisfying idea of a musical journey, underpinned by academic rigour and crowned with a sense of quiet completion. ....His tutors are the classical masters, principally Haydn and Beethoven, and like them he doesn;t waste a note"
Andrew Page, The Financial Times

Anthony Payne's works were published by Chester until 1994. Works written since 1994 are available from the composer. 

Further details on Anthony Payne's website which includes a complete Work List, biography and links to recordings with audio extracts