Helen Grime

Associate Composer

Helen Grime was born in 1981. Helen studied oboe with John Anderson and composition with Julian Anderson and Edwin Roxburgh at the Royal College of Music. She graduated from the BMus course with First Class Honours and completed her Masters with Distinction in 2004. From 2005-07, Helen was a Legal & General Junior Fellow at the RCM.

In 2001 she wrote Doorstepping Susanna, a short opera, for ENO Studio and Tête à Tête Opera. In 2003 Helen’s Oboe Concerto was premiered by the Meadows Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Peter Evans, with Helen as soloist. In 2004, Helen performed the concerto with the RCM Sinfonietta conducted by Neil Thomson.

Helen won the Making Music category of the 2003 British Composer Awards with Oboe Concerto, and was awarded the intercollegiate Theodore Holland Composition Prize in 2003 as well as all the major composition prizes in the RCM. Following the award, BBC Radio 3 commissioned Chasing Butterflies for 100 violas led by the BBCSSO viola section and conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

Helen’s music has been performed by some of the finest orchestras and ensembles including the LSO, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, BCMG, Composers’ Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble and the Kungsbacka Trio. Her music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Romance, for violin and piano, has been released on Usk Records performed by Alexandra Wood and Huw Watkins and Nobody Comes for voice and piano appears on the NMC Songbook disc performed by Jean Rigby and Huw Watkins.

Helen attended the Britten- Pears Contemporary Performance and Composition course in 2005, and in 2006, the Aldeburgh Opera Writing workshops. In 2008 she was awarded a Leonard Bernstein Fellowship to study at the Tanglewood Music Center where she studied with John Harbison, Michael Gandolfi, Shulamit Ran and Augusta Read Thomas. A commission by the Tanglewood Music Center, a work for solo clarinet and ensemble, was performed at the 2009 Festival of Contemporary Music.

The orchestral piece Virga, commissioned by the LSO in partnership with UBS received its first performance in July 2007 conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier. Virga was performed at the 2009 BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Oliver Knussen. Virga received its French premiere with the Orchestre de Paris and Pierre Boulez in May 2010. Other performances include those with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding and the RSNO with Stéphane Denève.

Recent works include Into the faded air for the Britten Sinfonia, which received its premiere tour in January 2008, A Cold Spring for ten instruments which was commissioned by the Aldeburgh Festival for the BCMG under Oliver Knussen, and premiered in June 2009, and Seven Pierrot Miniatures, commissioned by the Hebrides Ensemble. Helen’s music was featured as one of the Philharmonia’s Music of Today concerts in January 2010 where her Clarinet Concerto received its UK premiere along with a new work for violin and viola, To see the summer sky. Helen is the 2010 recipient of the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund.

The music of Helen Grime is published exclusively by Chester Music Limited.

‘…there could be no question of the distinctiveness of this promising young composer’s ear.’
Bayan Northcott, The Independent

‘…Helen Grime’s expertly written and intensely lyrical Oboe concerto dazzlingly played by the composer herself ….the concerto is an impressive piece of work from a composer with something to say.’
Michael Tumelty, Glasgow Herald

‘…Helen Grime demands a large orchestra. Her use of it is sparing, authoritative and bold. She has an acute ear-adroitly finding matches for the sounds she seeks in the sounds particular instruments are capable of making. Helen Grime is one to watch…’
Kenneth Carter, Classical Source

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