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Composing music is a bit like 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 (not to mention the ball, and the rest of the unicycle) and there are so many concepts that must be understood and internalized, not least how gravity works and how it may be used. Much of the attraction with writing music is in going back to first principles: in theory anything can happen and the only limitation is the imagination of the composer. In other words it is not easy, but the challenge is irresistible. The best thing about composing is that after all of this hard work it really is a privilege to work with some of the finest musicians around.

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



Residency at Aram-Poitou Festival, in France

Since 2010 I have spent a week each August at the Aram-Poitou Festival in France, where I assisted Peter Swinnen with the running of the Composition Masterclass, given chamber music coaching and performed in the Concerts en nos Villages series. Aram-Poitou is a summer school with courses for composers and performers (amateurs to young professionals), set in a beautiful unspoilt corner of France, run by musicians who are passionate about their art. It’s wonderful way to spend part of the summer, and I would recommend it to anyone.

Latest News:

Collaboration with Yve Poprawski Dance Studio

I’m excited to be working with Yve Poprawski for a dance and music event at her dance studio in Bad Kreuznach, Germany in May 2015. Yve has a wonderful way of getting her students to move in the most creative, elegant, and sometimes unexpected ways. She’s always wanted to work with a composer, and I’m very lucky to be that composer. I love juxtapositions of music with other art-forms, it always fascinates me the kinds of connections that can be made.

more about Yve Poprawski >>


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

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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