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Composing music might be likened to juggling whilst riding a unicycle: what a wonderful feeling to keep all the balls in the air and not fall off! But this is only possible after a few preliminaries have been taken care of. First one has to invent the wheel. Then the ball. And then all the other components of the unicycle (and figure out how they’re put together). Nobody wants to see the joins, or know how it put together, yet there are so many concepts that must be understood and internalised for everything to appear seamless. So composing is not easy. Yet how can one resist those unlimited possibilities, especially in a world where so much is organised for us, and it can seem that we have so little freedom?

And why is that the best music in the world feels so damn good? I wish I knew, but at least through trying to write the stuff, I can feel like I’m somehow engaging with this question…

Whalley Works now published

Composers EditionRichard Whalley is delighted to be one of the founder-member composers to be published by Composers Edition. Scores and parts now available from


Upcoming Events:

Monday 17th November 2014, 5pm
Richard Whalley piano recital
Institute of Musical Research, Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, London, WC1E 7HU

Richard Whalley gives a piano recital of Taiwanese music for solo piano, including performances of Tsung-Hsien Yang’s Albumblätter from Sansui Shack, Chiu-Yu Chou’s Fluid Ripples and the premiere of a new work by Chia-Ying Lin.

Saturday 2nd May 2015
Yve Poprawski 50th Anniversary Celebration
Tanzstudio Yve Poprawski, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

Yve Poprawski celebrates 50 years of her dance school with an evening of dance and music, to include dancing to live performances of piano works by Richard Whalley: Three Worlds, Butterflies and From there to here, from here to there (world premiere).

more about Yve Poprawski >>

Latest News:

Richard Whalley commissioned to write new work for Feeding Music (Nutrire la Musica) Project, in the Italian Pavilion at Milano Expo 2015

Richard Whalley is one of 50 composers from all around the world selected to write a new work for this project. The new work will be performed four times in Milan during May to June 2015 by either Divertimento Ensemble or Sentieri Selvaggi.

Quatuor Danel CD of music by Manchester Composers to be released in Feb 2015 with Metier Recordings.

The Quatuor Danel are one of the most exciting string quartets around, and their recordings, ranging from Mendelssohn to Shostakovich to Xenakis to contemporary composers receive rave reviews. To consist of works by Richard Whalley, Camden Reeves, Philip Grange and John Casken. Watch this space!

CD Releases

Feast for the Senses
cd feast for the senses

' diverse texturally as it is intricate harmonically ... Whalley's music demonstrably has much to recommend it.'
 full Gramophone review...

'A Feast for the Senses'

A Very Serious Game, Tachophobia, Ad infinitum.
Intoxicating Orchids, Three Worlds
John Barker (sax) Caroline Balding (vn) Oliver Coates (vc) Richard Whalley (pf)
Ensemble 10/10 / Clark Rundell, Vaganza Soloists / James Stephenson
Prima Facie PFCD014 (76')

North-west artists profile
Manchester composer Whalley

Manchester-based Richard Whalley has built up a notable catalogue over two decades, with the calibre of performers on this first release dedicated to his music confirming the respect which it is accorded. The most recent piece, A Very Serious Game (2012), demonstrates the contrasting qualities evident in his work overall - three MC Escher lithographs providing inspiration for a triptych (and also the quizzical piano study Three Worlds of 2009 that rounds off the disc) which amply reflects their calculated anarchy. Oblique imagery also lies behind the continuous timbral shifts of Ad infinitum (2000) -its abstraction seemingly far removed from Tachophobia (2008), whose points of departure in Bach and Quentin Tarantino engender tills four-movement suite with its scherzo culminating in the most dextrous pizzicato and a finale whose febrile velocity might be thought the apt evocation of a car chase. Most impressive is Intoxicating Orchids (2007), its six movements directly inspired by that plant's array of scents, with significant roles for saxophone and harpsichord which are both highlighted and integrated within the framing 'Stanhopea'; and with the four movements between them each focusing on different aural 'scents' such as amount to a chamber concerto as diverse texturally as it is intricate harmonically.

The performances could hardly be more finely attuned to the technical challenges, while the composer's own booklet-notes set the scene succinctly (more detailed information can be found at As a 'feast for the senses', Whalley's music demonstrably has much to recommend it. Richard Whitehouse

"a great collection of works by a serious and inquisitive composer" - Denis Joe Manchester Salon: read the full review here.

CD released in by Prima Facie Records featuring some truly exciting performances

Full details including excerpts on the recordings page.


cd feast for the sensesSix Songs of Old Japanese Wisdom

Songs Now, including Richard Whalley’s Six Songs of Old Japanese Wisdom available on Meridian Records. Also includes songs by Tom Armstrong, Steve Crowther, David Lancaster, Mike Parkin, Peter Reynolds and William Rhys Meek, exquisitely performed by Paul Carey Jones (baritone) and Ian Ryan (piano)

View the reveiw in Tempo, January 2013

cd feast for the sensesDreams and Dances

A collection of works by composers represented by Prima Facie Records featurings Richard Whalley's Three Worlds alongside works by Anthony Gilbert, Beth Wiseman, Giles Easterbrook, John McCabe, Camden Reeves and Stephen Plews

Full details including excerpts on the recordings page.

Recent Events

1-3 August 2014, 9pm
Festival International de Musique de Chambre en Poitou
Château de Chiré-en-Montreuil, France

Friday 1st August, 2014, 6.00pm Guy Danel and Richard Whalley perform Peter Swinnen’s Edokaste for cello and piano.

Sunday 3rd August, 2014, 6.00pm Richard Whalley performs his Five Preludes for piano solo.

Sunday 3rd August, 2014, 9.00pm World premiere of Richard Whalley’s Frozen, performed by Jean-Michel Charlier (clarinet in A), Eric Robberecht (violin), Guy Danel (cello) and Nicolas Hourt (piano)

Friday 28th February, 2014, 7.30pm
Quatuor Danel with Richard Whalley
Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester, M13 9PL

Rachmaninoff – String Quartet no. 1
Haydn – Quartet Op. 71 no. 2
Shostakovich – Piano Quintet Op. 57

Friday 7th February, 2014
LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme
LSO St Lukes, Old Street, London, EC1V 9NG

The London Symphony Orchestra workshops and performs new works by Kim Ashton, Benjamin Graves, Jae-Moon Lee, James Moriarty, Elizabeth Ogonek and Richard Whalley

Thursday 21st November, 2013, 1.10pm
John Turner 70th Birthday Concert
Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester, M13 9PL

Music by Bernstein, Ives, Cowell, Rorem, Harrington and Malone + premiere of Richard Whalley’s ‘Kokopelli’ for tenor recorder and prepared piano

Wednesday 30th October, 2013, 7.30pm
New Music North West Festival
Vaganza and RNCM New Ensemble
RNCM Concert Hall

Camden Reeves – The Mangle-Beat Tangle-Bar Blues
Emma Wilde – Pentheo
Richard Whalley – this and that
Edwin Roxburgh – A Garland for Jane
Edwin Roxburgh – Elegy
Edward Gregson – Aztec Dances

Tuesday 29th October, 2013, 6.00pm
New Music North West Festival
Trio Atem
MediaCityUK, Salford

Nina Whiteman – The modifications of clouds
Ian Vine – Moon Phase
Richard Whalley – Problems Arising from Sympathy
Fabrice Fitch – Per Serafino Calbarsi II: Le Songe de Panurge
Michael Mayhew – Vinyl Radical

More past events...


Richard Whalley, October 2013


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