Mark-Anthony Turnage

Mark-Anthony Turnage

Mark-Anthony Turnage (born 10 June 1960 in Corringham, Essex) is a prolific[1] English composer of classical music. His initial musical studies were with Oliver Knussen, John Lambert, and later with Gunther Schuller.[2] He also has been strongly influenced by jazz, in particular by the work of Miles Davis.

Turnage's music has a characteristic personal style, with strong rhythmic thrust, involved jazz harmonies, colourful orchestration with prominent use of percussion, and hints of various orchestrational sounds from Duke Ellington to 1970s TV detective series theme tunes[citation needed]. He enjoys the reputation of being one of the few modern classical composers who can write 'proper modern jazz'[citation needed].

Turnage has composed numerous orchestral and chamber works, and two widely-performed operas. Greek, first performed in 1988 at the Munich Biennale, is based on Steven Berkoff's adaptation of Oedipus the King. The Silver Tassie, first performed in 2000, is based on the play by Seán O'Casey. Other works include Three Screaming Popes (after the paintings by Francis Bacon) and Your Rockaby, a concerto for saxophone and orchestra, and a concerto for trombone and orchestra: "Yet Another Set To", dedicated to Christian Lindberg.

In 1990, the post of Radcliffe Composer in Association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra was created, and Turnage appointed. In 2006, Turnage was named a co-composer-in-residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a position he held alongside Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov.

In Autumn 2005, he was appointed as the Royal College of Music's Research Fellow in Composition. In September 2006, he married the cellist Gabriella "Gabi" Swallow, for whom he wrote the 2010 piece for cello and percussion, GG.




Premiere Title Description Libretto and source
17 Jun 1988, Munich Biennale Greek Opera in 2 acts, 90' the composer and Jonathan Moore, after the play by Steven Berkoff
16 Jun 1997, Aldeburgh Festival Twice Through the Heart dramatic scena for mezzo-soprano and ensemble, 30' Jackie Kay
16 Jun 1997, Aldeburgh Festival Country of the Blind Chamber opera
16 Feb 2000, English National Opera The Silver Tassie Opera in four acts, 120' Amanda Holden, after the play by Seán O'Casey
17 Feb 2011, Royal Opera House, London[3] Anna Nicole Opera in two acts, 120' Richard Thomas


  • From All Sides (2005–06)
  • Undance (2011)


  • Night Dances (1981), for offstage string quintet, solo instrumental group and orchestra
  • Three Screaming Popes (1988–89)
  • Some Days (1989), song cycle for mezzo-soprano and orchestra
  • Momentum (1990–1991)
  • Drowned Out (1992–1993)
  • Your Rockaby (1992–93), for soprano saxophone and orchestra
  • Dispelling the Fears (1994–1995), for two trumpets and orchestra
  • Scorched (1996–2001), for jazz trio and orchestra
  • Still Sleeping (1997)
  • Evening Songs (1998)
  • Silent Cities (1998)
  • About Time (1999–2000), for ensemble and chamber orchestra of period instruments
  • Another Set To (1999–2000), concerto for trombone and orchestra
  • A Quick Blast (2000), for orchestral winds, brass and percussion
  • Dark Crossing (2000), for chamber orchestra
  • Etudes and Elegies (2000–2002)
  • Four-Horned Fandango (2000), for four horns and orchestra
  • On Opened Ground (2000–2001), concerto for viola and orchestra
  • Uninterrupted Sorrow (2000–2001)
  • Fractured Lines (2001), double concerto for two percussion and orchestra
  • When I Woke (2001), for baritone and chamber orchestra
  • A Quiet Life (2002), for string orchestra
  • A Man Descending (2003), for tenor saxophone and chamber orchestra
  • Riffs and Refrains (2003), concerto for clarinet and orchestra
  • Scherzoid (2003–04)
  • A Soothing Interlude (2004), for trombone and orchestra
  • From the Wreckage (2004), concerto for trumpet and orchestra
  • Yet Another Set To (2004), concerto for trombone and orchestra
  • Ceres (2005)
  • Hidden Love Song (2005), for soprano saxophone and chamber orchestra
  • Juno (2005)
  • Lullaby for Hans (2005), for string orchestra
  • Three Asteroids (2005)
  • The Torino Scale (2005)
  • From All Sides (2005–06)
  • A Prayer Out of Stillness (2007), concertante for double bass (doubling bass guitar) and string orchestra
  • Chicago Remains (2007)
  • Five Views of a Mouth (2007), concerto for flute and orchestra
  • Mambo, Blues and Tarantella (2007), concerto for violin and orchestra
  • Texan Tenebrae (2009)
  • Hammered Out (2010)


  • The Game Is Over (2001–2002), for S.A.T.B. choir and orchestra
  • A Relic of Memory (2003), for S.A.T.B. choir and orchestra
  • Calmo (2003), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir and bells
  • Two Fanfares and a Lament (2003), for S.A.T.B. choir and large ensemble
  • Christmas Night (2006), for S.A.T.B. choir and piano
  • Claremont Carol (2006), for upper-voice choir and piano or organ
  • Miserere Nobis (2006), for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir


  • On All Fours (1985), for chamber ensemble
  • Release (1987), for soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, percussion, piano and double bass
  • Kai (1989–1990), for cello solo and ensemble
  • Three Farewells (1989–1990), for flute, bass clarinet, harp and string quartet
  • Set To (1992–1993), for brass dectet
  • This Silence (1992–1993), for clarinet, bassoon, horn and string quintet
  • Blood on the Floor (1993–1996), for jazz quartet and large ensemble
  • Barrie's Deviant Fantasy (1995), for string quartet and referee's whistles
  • Bass Invention (1999–2000), for double bass solo and ensemble
  • Cantilena (2001), for oboe quintet
  • Snapshots (2002), for large ensemble
  • Crying Out Loud (2003), for large ensemble
  • A Short Procession (2003), for piano trio
  • Eulogy (2003), for viola solo and small ensemble
  • No Let Up (2003), for ensemble
  • A Fast Stomp (2004), for piano trio
  • A Few Serenades (2004), for cello and piano
  • A Slow Pavane (2004–2005), for piano trio
  • Bleak Moments (2005), for horn and string quartet
  • Fanfare (from all sides) (2006), for brass ensemble
  • Returning (2006), for string sextet
  • Tango (2007), for ensemble
  • Out of Black Dust (2007–08), for brass ensemble
  • Four Chants (2008), for violin and piano
  • Twisted Blues with Twisted Ballad (2008), for string quartet
  • Grazioso! (2009), for small ensemble
  • Five Processionals (2009), for clarinet, violin, cello and piano
  • GG (2010), for cello and percussion
  • Three for Two (2010), for piano quartet
  • Amelia's March (2010), for small ensemble
  • Silem (2010), for solo trumpet and big band
  • Undance (2011), for ensemble


  • Lament for a Hanging Man (1983), for soprano and ensemble
  • Some Days (1989), song cycle for mezzo-soprano and orchestra
  • Greek Suite (1989), for mezzo-soprano, tenor soli and ensemble
  • The Torn Fields (2000–2002), song cycle for baritone and large ensemble
  • When I Woke (2001), song cycle for baritone and orchestra
  • Two Baudelaire Songs (2003–04), for soprano and ensemble
  • About Water (2006), for solo jazz singer; soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, bass soli; solo instrumental septet and large ensemble
  • A Constant Obsession (2007), song cycle for tenor and ensemble
  • Bellamy (2008), for countertenor and singing harpist

Solo instrumental

  • An Aria (with Dancing) (2004), for trumpet
  • Ah, Quegli Occhi! (2006), for soprano saxophone
  • Air with Variations (2007), for guitar
  • Cradle Song (2009), for clarinet
  • Leap (2010), for clarinet


  • Anthem by Peter Erskine, ed. Turnage (1996), for jazz trio and chamber orchestra


External links

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