Alex Woolf


'A major presence in starry company' 
- Gramophone
'A fresh, urgent voice ... wholly affecting' 
- International Record Review

Born in 1995, Alex Woolf has composed music for a wide variety of artists and ensembles; these include the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Tallis Scholars, Aurora Orchestra, London Youth Choir, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Malcolm Martineau. His music has been broadcast several times on BBC Radio 3 and performed in venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, the Royal Opera House and Maida Vale Studios, as well as in Holland, Italy, Germany and the United States. Alex read music at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 2016 with triple First Class Honours. He now studies with David Sawer at the Royal Academy of Music. Alex is a current member of the London Symphony Orchestra's Panufnik Composers Scheme, writing music for the LSO to be premiered in 2018. 

Projects in 2016 included new works for The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge, Clare Hammond, the Orpheus and Bacchus Music Festival, Bordeaux, and the King’s Lynn Festival. December sees the Asian premiere of Alex's Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, at Hong Kong City Hall. On the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Alex's Three Tempestuous Tunes were broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 from Stratford-upon-Avon, performed by Mark Stone and Richard Sisson. Next year Alex is looking forward to performances by artists/ensembles including The Choir of Magdelene College, Cambridge, Zubin Kanga, and Blossom Street Singers. 

In 2012 Alex was BBC Young Composer of the Year, and his Fanfare opened the 2012 International Olympic Committee session, performed at Covent Garden by Sir Antonio Pappano and the ROH Orchestra to accompany the entrance of HRH The Princess Royal. Alex was commissioned to write Three Tempestuous Tunes for acclaimed tenor Nicky Spence’s debut album ‘As You Like It’, recorded with pianist Malcolm Martineau in 2013. These songs received their US premiere in Menlo Park, California in March 2015, and will be performed in Kansas in November 2016. Also in 2012 Alex became Principal Composer of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and won the National Centre for Early Music composition award.

Alex contributed twice to Benjamin Britten’s centenary year in 2013: his Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings was performed in Snape Maltings Concert Hall as part of Aldeburgh Music’s centenary weekend, and the London Youth Choir performed his Begone, Dull Care as part of their own centenary celebrations. In the same year Alex composed, performed and released an album of piano music, Red Handed, paid for entirely through online crowdfunding.

In 2014 Alex received premieres from ensembles including the Jubilee String Quartet, Cambridge Chorale, all the horn students at the Royal Academy of Music, and members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In addition he twice curated sold-out concerts of his own music and that of other young composers in Cambridge, as part of the Cambridge Music Festival. In December 2015 Alex marked the bicentenary of Anthony Trollope with a new commission for the Trollope Society’s commemorative ceremony in Westminster Abbey, London.

Alex grew up in Cambridgeshire, UK; meanwhile he studied for five years at Snape Maltings as an Aldeburgh Young Musician, for two years at the junior department of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and for two years as a composer with the National Youth Orchestra under the tutelage of Anna Meredith and Larry Goves.