Alex Woolf is ‘one of the UK’s freshest new composing voices’ (PRS For Music), and has composed music for a wide variety of artists and ensembles, including Sir James Galway, London Symphony Orchestra, The Tallis Scholars, Colin Currie, and The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge. Described by Gramophone as ‘a major presence’, Alex has received commissions from organisations including the Royal Philharmonic Society, BBC Radio 3, the Lutheran Church of America, Classic FM, The Arts Society, and Aldeburgh Music.
Notable recent works include Requiem for Nicky Spence (tenor), Laura van der Heijden (cello), and Vox Luna Chamber Choir; NHS Symphony, a collaboration with BBC Radio and the Bach Choir; Direct Message, for trumpeter Matilda Lloyd, released on Orchid Classics; Dark Sayings, for the combined choirs of Norwich, Peterborough and Ely Cathedrals; and Golden Rhapsody, recorded by Sir James Galway and broadcast on Classic FM.
Alex’s choral and vocal output has received particular acclaim. O Vos Omnes (2015) has been recorded by The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge for release on the Signum label in 2019. Alex won the inaugural Sir David Willcocks Carol Competition – adjudicated by John Rutter and David Hill – with Nowell! (2017), first performed at Cadogan Hall; also in 2017 his anthem Come and See was performed at The Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York, to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Three Tempestuous Tunes (2012), for Nicky Spence and Malcolm Martineau, was lauded by International Record Review as ‘wholly affecting’; and his NHS Symphony (2018) has been nominated for an ARIAS Award, and was praised as ‘groundbreaking’ (The Times) and ‘haunting’ (Metro).
Alex’s instrumental output includes works for London Symphony Orchestra, Aldeburgh World Orchestra, and Arensky Chamber Orchestra. Chamber works include Cantata (2018), a percussion quartet for Colin Currie; The Year’s Midnight (2018), for The Hermes Experiment; Aria (2017), for horn and piano; Genie (2014), for members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra; and Mermish (2012), for Aurora Orchestra.
This season, Alex’s commissions include new works for the Philharmonia, Ludlow English Song, the Rodolfus Choir, the Lipatti Quartet, and the London Mozart Players.
Alex is currently recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, and was formerly BBC Young Composer of the Year. In 2017 Alex was a member of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Composers Scheme, and was also a Classic FM 25th Birthday Composer.
Alex graduated with a double First from St John’s College, Cambridge University, subsequently completing his Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with David Sawer, Huw Watkins, and Oliver Knussen.