One of Britain’s most celebrated contemporary composers, Gabriel Jackson was born in Bermuda in 1962. After three years as a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral, Jackson went on to study composition with Richard Blackford and with John Lambert at the Royal College of Music. While at the college he won the Theodore Holland Award in 1981 and was awarded the R.O. Morris Prize for Composition in 1981 and 1983.
His music is regularly performed, recorded and broadcast throughout Europe and the United States and has recently been heard as far afield as Campine Grande, Taipei, Skálholt, Ho Chi Minh City, Hamilton, Kiev and Kuwait.
Particularly acclaimed for his choral works, his liturgical pieces are in the repertoires of most of Britain’s cathedral and collegiate choirs and he is a frequent collaborator with the leading professional groups of the world.
In 2003 he won the liturgical category at the inaugural British Composer Awards with O Doctor optime, and won two further prizes in the choral category with The Spacious Firmament in 2009 and Airplane Cantata in 2012. From 2010 to 2013 he was Associate Composer to the BBC Singers, producing a series of substantial pieces for the group including a virtuoso four-movement Choral Symphony.
Alongside his work with voices he has written a number of instrumental pieces that take their inspiration from conceptual artists Richard Long, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Yoko Ono. A longstanding interest in the technology and the aesthetics of aviation has produced a series of works that explore the “miracle of powered flight” including A Vision of Aeroplanes for choir, The White Bird for Eb clarinet and piano, Luna 21 in the Sea of Serenity for ensemble, and LM-7: Aquarius for saxophone quartet.
Jackson’s music can be heard on over 70 recordings including five discs devoted exclusively to his work on Delphian Records, Hyperion and Signum Classics.
Recent large-scale works include a Piano Concerto (2009) for the Presteigne Festival, the string-ensemble Doonies Hill Antiphon (2010) for RedNote Ensemble, In Nomine Domini (2010) for the BBC Proms, a 35-minute cantata To the Field of Stars (2011) and La musique (2013), premiered by Dame Felicity Lott and the Choir of Royal Holloway at the Cheltenham Festival.
In April 2014 his hour-long The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, commissioned for the 750th anniversary of Merton College, Oxford, had its first performance in the college chapel and its New York premiere ten days later. Future projects include a half-hour piece for choir and orchestra for the 25th anniversary of the Riga-based youth choir Kamēr, and a chamber opera with Latvian librettist Kārlis Verdiņš.