Ades headshot Thomas Adès was born in London in 1971.  Renowned as both composer and performer, he works regularly with the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies and festivals. 

His compositions include three operas : the most recent of which The Exterminating Angel premiered at the 2016 Salzburg Festival and subsequently has been performed at the Metropolitan Opera, New York and the Royal Opera House, London all conducted by the composer; The Tempest (Royal Opera House and Metropolitan Opera); and Powder Her Face. His orchestral works include Asyla (CBSO, 1997), Tevot (Berlin Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall, 2007), Polaris (New World Symphony, Miami 2011), Violin Concerto Concentric Paths (Berliner Festspiele and the BBC Proms, 2005), In Seven Days (Piano concerto with moving image - LA Philharmonic and RFH London 2008), Totentanz for mezzo-soprano, baritone, and orchestra (BBC Proms, 2013), and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Boston Symphony Orchestra, 2019). His compositions also include numerous celebrated chamber and solo works. 

Thomas Adès has been an Artistic Partner of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 2016 and will conduct the orchestra in Boston and at Tanglewood, perform chamber music with the orchestra players, and lead the summer Festival of Contemporary Music. He coaches Piano and Chamber Music annually at the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove.

As a conductor, Thomas appears regularly with the Los Angeles, San Francisco and London Philharmonic orchestras, the Boston, London, BBC and City of Birmingham, Symphony orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouworkest, Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Czech Philharmonic. In opera, in addition to The Exterminating Angel, he has conducted The Rake’s Progress at the Royal Opera House and the Zürich Opera, The Tempest at the Metropolitan Opera and Vienna State Opera, and Gerald Barry’s latest opera Alice’s Adventures Under Ground in Los Angeles (world premiere) and in London (European premiere). In the 2019-20 season Thomas has a residency with the Royal Concertgebouworkest and also conducts the London and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras and makes his debut with Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. In the USA, he returns to the Los Angeles and Boston Symphony Orchestras. Thomas also returns to the Royal Opera House twice this season, to conduct Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Under Ground and the premiere of his new ballet The Dante Project.

His piano engagements include solo recitals at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium), New York and the Wigmore Hall in London, and concerto appearances with the New York Philharmonic. This season will see the release of his album of solo piano music by Janacek and he will also join Simon Keenlyside in a recital of Schubert’s Winterreise at the Vienna State Opera.

His many awards include the Grawemeyer Award for Asyla (1999); Royal Philharmonic Society large-scale composition awards for Asyla, The Tempest and Tevot; and Ernst von Siemens Composers' prize for Arcadiana; British Composer Award for The Four Quarters.  His CD recording of The Tempest from the Royal Opera House (EMI) won the Contemporary category of the 2010 Gramophone Awards; his DVD of the production from the Metropolitan Opera was awarded the Diapason d'Or de l'année (2013), Best Opera recording (2014 Grammy Awards) and Music DVD Recording of the Year (2014 ECHO Klassik Awards); and The Exterminating Angel won the World Premiere of the Year at the International Opera Awards (2017). In 2015 he was awarded the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize and in Spring 2020 he will receive the Toru Takemitsu composition award at Tokyo Opera City where he will conduct a concert of his own music.


Born March 1st, London
Guildhall School of Music, London.
Studies piano in chamber music with György Kurtág in Szombathély, Hungary. Writes Op.1 Five Eliot Landscapes for high soprano and piano
King's College, Cambridge University. Writes Chamber Symphony
First visit to USA.
Studies Piano in Chamber music with Kurtág, International Musicians Seminar, England. Writes first string quartet Arcadiana and first orchestral piece ...but all shall be well while living in Manchester, England as Composer in residence of Hallé orchestra
Opera Powder Her Face to libretto by Philip Hensher premiered at Cheltenham Festival and Almeida Opera, London
Powder Her Face first performed in Germany at Magdeburg Opera. Composes These Premises are Alarmed for opening of Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England
First visit to Los Angeles, for Green Umbrella concert with Los Angeles Philharmonic. Writes Asyla for CBSO and Simon Rattle. Writes The Fayrfax Carol for Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, King's College, Cambridge
Writes America: A Prophecy for New York Philharmonic.
Music director of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
Realizes Nancarrow's Concerto for Pianola and Orchestra for performance at BBC Proms, London
Artistic Director of Aldeburgh Festival
Composes and plays Piano Quintet with Arditti Quartet at Melbourne Festival, Australia
Conducts BCMG touring production of Gerald Barry's The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit
Writes second opera The Tempest to libretto by Meredith Oakes premiered at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London; Opéra National du Rhin, Strasbourg, France; and Royal Opera, Copenhagen, Denmark
Violin Concerto premiered at Berlin Philharmonie
The Tempest US premiere at Santa Fe Opera, New Mexico
Tevot premiered at Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Barbican London, and Salle Playel, Paris. Featured composer at Barbican, London; Présences, Paris. Conducts Asyla and Gerald Barry's Chevaux-de-Frise with Mariinsky Orchestra, St Petersburg. Arranges two Nancarrow Player-Piano Studies for two pianos
Composes first work with visuals, In Seven Days for piano and orchestra; conducts premiere at Royal Festival Hall, London and Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. Conducts The Rake's Progress at Covent Garden, London
Conducts The Rake's Progress at Zürich Opera. Featured composer at Melbourne Festival; featured composer at Stockholm Festival with Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.
The Tempest German premiere at Frankfurt Opera. Mazurkas premiered at Carnegie Hall; solo piano recital at Carnegie Hall - plays new Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face. Conducts In Seven Days at Zürich Tonhalle. Conducts Violin Concerto and Scenes from The Tempest in début with Boston Symphony
Second string quartet The Four Quarters premiered in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and London; second work with visuals Polaris premiered at New World Center, Miami; Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam (without visuals) and San Francisco Symphony. Teaches Piano in Chamber music at International Musicians Seminar, England
Conducts The Tempest at Metropolitan Opera, New York

© Thomas Adès 2014