Peter Fribbins - Biography
The music of Peter Fribbins combines a gift for melody, drama and passion, with a directness and uncompromising clarity. His music is frequently performed throughout the UK, Europe and beyond and is increasingly popular with both musicians and audiences alike. He was born in London, winning a composition scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 17 and subsequently studying at Royal Holloway and Nottingham universities. Studies with the German composer Hans Werner Henze led to the staging of his collaborative opera ‘Anna Bella’ in Italy when still only 20.
Fribbins is now especially known for chamber music, some of it literary-inspired, and much of it for strings, notable exceptions being the early Wind Quintet 'In Xanadu' (after Coleridge) which was runner-up in the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize, 'Porphyria’s Lover' for flute and piano (after Browning), and the clarinet and piano '...That Which Echoes in Eternity' (after lines from Dante’s Divine Comedy).
The new millennium marked a creative explosion from Peter and has seen an outpouring of activity: his second String Quartet 'After Cromer' was commissioned by the Chilingirian Quartet and recorded by them for his second Guild CD The Moving Finger Writes (2012). In 2005, Peter completed his Sonata for Cello and Piano written for Raphael Wallfisch and John York, and 2007 saw the creation and first performance of Softly, in the dusk... (commissioned by the Rosamunde trio) at the Wigmore Hall. In 2011 Peter's Piano Concerto was given its first outing by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Cadogan Hall under the baton of Robertas Šervenikas. The soloist was Croatian pianist Diana Brekalo.
Of the more abstract pieces, important works are the 2002 Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, the Piano Trio (commissioned by the Austrian Government and premièred in Vienna in 2004 by Haydn Trio Eisenstadt for ORF broadcast), and the Cello Sonata for Raphael Wallfisch and John York
In 2008, Fribbins was invited to be one of a number of composers to contribute a piece to the Primrose Piano Quartet's project 'Variations on a Burns Air', to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns's birth. This was premièred by the quartet in England and Scotland this autumn and recorded for the Meridian label. A similar project, this time in dual commemoration of Haydn's bicentenary and John McCabe's 70th birthday, led to the writing of 'A Haydn Prelude' for piano which was premièred at the Presteigne Festival by Huw Watkins in August 2009.
Peter's newest CD Dances & Laments was released in July 2013 and features The Zong Affair, commissioned by the Turner Ensemble and premièred at Kings Place in 2011 and written for the same forces as Beethoven's Op. 20. The CD's namesake piece, was specially written for Phillippe Graffin (violin) and Henri Demarquette ('cello) and premièred at the Consonances Festival in Saint-Nazaire. The CD features two earlier works: Porphyria's Lover (for flute and piano, hauntingly played by flautist Nancy Ruffer and pianist Helen Crayford), and ...that which echoes in eternity (played by pianist Mine Dogantan-Dack, and cellist Pál Banda). The CD closes with the Prelude and Fugue on the hymn tune 'Cromer' performed by Michael Frith. The music has attracted positive reviews from the Arts Desk, the Organ Magazine, and Fanfare Magazine.
Peter has recently finished writing a Violin Concerto, there will be a number of performances announced soon.
As well as a composer, Fribbins is Director of Music at Middlesex University and Artistic Director of the celebrated and long-established series of Sunday London Chamber Music Society Concerts, which has been resident in the splendid Kings Place concert hall since 2008.