Julian Anderson (born April 6, 1967 in London) is a British composer, and writer on music. He studied at Westminster School, with John Lambert at the Royal College of Music, with Alexander Goehr at Cambridge University, and with Tristan Murail.
From 2000 to 2004 he was Head of Composition at the Royal College of Music, and from 2001-5 he was Composer-in-Association of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Since July 2004 he has been Fanny P. Mason Professor of Music at Harvard University, and is currently Daniel Lewis Fellowship Composer with the Cleveland Orchestra. Since 2002, he has also been artistic director of the 'Music of Today' concert series run by the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.
Anderson's music is much influenced by East European folk music, as well as certain elements of modernist music from the sixties, the spectral music of Gerard Grisey, Claude Vivier and Tristan Murail, and sometimes electronics. His output consists mainly of instrumental and orchestral music. His ensemble pieces Khorovod from 1994 and Alhambra Fantasy (2000), both composed for the London Sinfonietta, are typical examples of his style. His first orchestral piece, 'Diptych', was completed in 1990, and he has subsequently written four more orchestral pieces including the BBC commissions 'The Crazed Moon' (1997) and 'Stations of the Sun' (1998), the latter a commission for the BBC Promenade Concerts. His first work written for the CBSO was Imagin'd Corners, premiered in 2002. His most recent large orchestral piece is the Symphony of 2003, composed for the CBSO and their chief conductor Sakari Oramo. This won the British Association of Composers and Songwriters Award for the Best New Orchestral Piece of 2004.
More recently, Anderson has also written a large amount of unaccompanied choral music, including 'Sing Unto the Lord' (written for Westminster Cathedral), 'I Saw Eternity' (2003, first performed by the London Philharmonic Choir) and the 'Four American Choruses (2001-4) composed for the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and their conductor Simon Halsey, who gave the first UK performance of them in 2005.
Anderson has also used live electronics in his large-scale Book of Hours for 20 players and live electronics, composed for the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group who gave the first performance in February 2005 with Oliver Knussen. His most recent purely orchestral piece, Eden, was first heard at the 2005 Cheltenham International Music Festival, played by the CBSO under Martyn Brabbins, and is an exploration of the non-tempered tuning of the harmonic series. This pre-occupation with fusing tempered modality and non-tempered resonance is continued in his largest work to date, 'Heaven is Shy of Earth', an oratorio for mezzo-soprano, chorus and orchestra lasting nearly 35 minutes, commissioned by the BBC for the 2006 Promenade Concerts, where it was premiered by singer Angelika Kirchschlager and the BBC Chorus and Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.
His music is published by Faber Music.