08 November 2019
From lecture hall to concert hall: Dr Edward Nesbit
Dr Edward Nesbit is a Lecturer in Composition in the Department of Music. When he’s not teaching students at Kings, Edward is busy composing music for world renowned orchestras including London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career...
I am a composer, writing music for classical ensembles in a contemporary style – everything from solo piano to symphony orchestra.
I studied music and composition at the University of Cambridge and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. I have known King’s well for a long time now, as I did my doctorate here. I returned to King’s as a Teaching Fellow in 2016, and was appointed Lecturer in Composition in 2018.
What is your approach when composing new music?
Often I will have a specific brief from an ensemble when I compose – they will have a firm idea in mind of which instruments they would like me to write for and the duration of the music. This practical consideration can really focus the mind and help me to get started.
Another thing I find hugely helpful in this regard is when I am writing for voices; a text can point me in musical directions which may not otherwise have occurred to me.
I’m not much of a collaborator by nature; I very much enjoy working with performers in planning a piece and in rehearsals, but the main body of my work happens when I am alone in a room with a piano.
Your work has been performed by a host of highly celebrated orchestras and in concert halls in the UK and abroad. What has been your career highlight so far?
One particularly memorable event for me was at the 2014 Verbier Festival, where a group of eight extremely eminent cellists came together to perform a concert as an octet, including the premiere of a piece of mine called To Dance on Sands in the beautiful surroundings of the Swiss Alps.
My most recent highlight was having a Viola Concerto premiered by viola player Paul Silverthorne and the London Sinfonietta in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. They are an amazing group of musicians, and it was a real joy to hear my music played so precisely and with such belief.
How does being part of the university’s cultural community inspire you?
I find it hugely exciting to be a member of such a diverse and stimulating cultural and intellectual community at King’s.
I guess like any group of specialists in a particular field, we composers have a tendency to stick together and can as a result become rather myopic about the breadth of culture that we are lucky enough to have on our doorsteps in London.
Talking to people who work in radically different fields can surely only be a huge benefit to all of us.
How can people find out more about your work?
You can find out more about me on my website.