Composition biography

Barnaby's compositions have been performed widely in the UK and internationally by groups including the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of Opera North, the Berkeley Ensemble, the Ligeti Quartet, the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral Choir and Illuminare choir. For Barnaby's full composition biography,

"Barnaby is able to command and develop complex structures and to write music that evolves in an organic manner. Full advantage is taken of the potential of the orchestra and the use of orchestral colours makes an immediately striking pictorial impression."

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In 2018, his work for large orchestra, Quanta, was selected as the winner of the Toru Takemitsu Composition award. The piece, which was one of four to be selected for the final of the competition by Unsuk Chin out of 143 entries from 40 countries, was first performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2018. Barnaby is the only composer from the UK to have received first prize in the history of the competition. Barnaby’s work has achieved acclaim and recognition in several other competitions and prizes including the Westminster Cathedral composition competition (Omnes amici mei), the DARE New Composer’s Forum Competition, the Berkeley Ensemble’s New Cobbett Prize (Lazarus) as well as the New Music for St Paul’s Cathedral Competition (Videntes Stellam). Barnaby also received his first nomination for a BASCA British Composer Award in 2017 for his contemporary cantata, The Temptations of Christ.


"Barnaby has a strong flair for bold orchestral colours and he succeeded in taking the audience on an exciting sonic journey" Nahoko Gotoh


Barnaby enjoys frequent collaborations with musicians and has been commissioned to write music for a variety of different ensembles and instrumentalists. He has written pieces for the Psappha Ensemble’s Benedict Holand as part of the group’s Composing for Violin scheme (Leda Atomica) as well as new pieces for oboist James Turnbull (Christ of Saint John of the Cross), the clarinettist John Slack (Hypercubus), pianist Joseph Houston (Submerging) and organist Simon Johnson (O Herre Gott, dein göttlich Wort). The piece for Simon Johnson was commissioned by Choir & Organ Magazine and contributed to William Whitehead’s ongoing Orgelbüchlein Project. Barnaby has worked extensively with singers as well as instrumentalists and enjoys regular work with choirs in the UK. Most recently, he was commissioned by Illuminare choir to write a new 45-minute cantata for two choirs, soloists and percussion (The Temptations of Christ) which was premiered by the group in March 2017, directed by RPS award-winning conductor Christopher Stark.


"Barnaby's setting of Videntes Stellam managed to exploit the vast acoustic of St Paul’s to best effect; the piece features brilliant vocal and organ writing in the opening pages and a melancholic conclusion which depicts the offering of the Kings’ gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh"

Timothy Wakerell

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Recent projects include writing a piece for chamber orchestra (Corpus) as part of the London Philharmonic Orchestra's Young Composers Programme 2018-19. The work was first performed in the Debut Sounds concert by members of the LPO alongside players from the orchestra's Foyle Future Firsts scheme in July 2019, conducted by Sir James MacMillan.