Julian Anderson was born in London in 1967 and studied composition with John Lambert, Alexander Goehr and Tristan Murail. His first acknowledged work, Diptych (1990) for orchestra, won the 1992 Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Young Composers and was subsequently nominated as the BBC entry in the 1996 International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. His two commissions for the London Sinfonietta, Khorovod (1994) and Alhambra Fantasy (2000), have been widely performed by leading ensembles across Europe and the USA. His other most-played works include the orchestral BBC Proms commission The Stations of the Sun (1998) which has been taken up by both the Boston Symphony and Cleveland Orchestras, and the chamber work Poetry Nearing Silence (1997) a commission from the Nash Ensemble. This latter work was later arranged to become a ballet choreographed by Mark Baldwin – the second such project involving this partnership.
From 1996 to 2001 Anderson was Composer in Residence with the chamber orchestra Sinfonia 21. Between 2000-2005 he was Composer in Association with the CBSO, for whom he completed three orchestral works: Imagin’d Corners (2002) for five horns and orchestra, Symphony (2003), which was winner of the British Composer Award (2004), and Eden, written for the opening concert of the 2005 Cheltenham Festival. He also wrote Book of Hours (2005), a piece for ensemble and electronics for BCMG, which won the 2006 RPS Award for large scale work, and Four American Choruses for the CBSO Chorus. More recently his interest in choral music led to a BBC Proms commission Heaven is Shy of Earth for Mezzo-Soprano, chorus and orchestra starring Angelika Kirschlager (2006), and his Alleluia was a commissioned work by the Southbank for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, to re-open the newly-furbished Royal Festival Hall in June 2007.
In October 2002 Anderson was appointed Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s ‘Music of Today’ series. Throughout the 2002/3 season he was ‘Composer in Focus’ with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, a relationship which is set to blossom again when be becomes their Composer in Residence for 2010. He was the Cleveland Orchestra’s Daniel Lewis Young Composer Fellow between 2005 and 2007. A ballet based on Darwin’s Origin of the Species, choreographed by Mark Baldwin was premiered in September 2009; The Comedy of Change (2009) is a joint commission from Rambert Dance and the Asko Ensemble.
Anderson was Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music from 1996 and was Head of Composition there from 1999 to 2004. From 2004 to 2007 he was Fanny Mason Professor of Music at Harvard University. He returned to the UK in Autumn 2007 to work as a freelance composer and take up a newly devised post at Guildhall School of Music and Drama of Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence.
Two recent recordings with NMC and Ondine were nominated for the Gramophone Awards. 'Alhambra Fantasy', the Ondine disc of orchestral and ensemble works won the Contemporary Classical Award at the 2007 Classic FM Gramophone Awards.