Toby Young


Toby is a composer of operas, chamber music and symphonic works whose influences range from plainchant to electronic dance music. Born in London in 1990, he studied composition with Robin Holloway at Cambridge, whilst also being a choral scholar in the prestigious King’s College Chapel Choir. In 2006 he won the Guardian/BBC Proms Young Composer of the Year competition, the International ABRSM Composition Competition in 2009, and the ISM Composition Competition in 2013.

Toby’s diverse output has included a setting of William Blake for the London Mozart Players, several songs for the urban music duo Chase & Status (2013), a solo Fantasy (2015) for cellist Guy Johnston, and dance piece for Rambert (2015) combining a live DJ with multi-tracked mezzo-soprano. He has had a particularly close relationship with London Symphony Orchestra, writing several orchestra works as a Panufnik scholar (2009-11) and the chamber opera Daisy Chain (2012) for the Soundhub scheme.

Toby has considerable experience writing for choirs, with works including carols, part-songs, Music, Make (2016) for the combined choirs of Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral, arrangements of Prince songs for The King’s Singers, and choral arrangements for The Rolling Stones, which he performed live with the band at Wembley Arena and Glastonbury (2013).

Recent large-scale works include the 30-minute Shakespeare Cantata (2016), a set of Breath Madrigals (2016) inspired by medical research, a chamber opera remix of Handel entitled The Choice (2015), and The Art of Dancing (2016), a dance-music inspired double concerto for trumpet and piano.

Toby is also active as a researcher, exploring the relationship between creative practice and philosophy in his work as the inaugural Gianturco Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College, Oxford. He frequently gives public talks about this work, including a recent TEDx talk for the University of Arts London (2016) and a panel discussion at Milton Hall for the Incorporated Society of Musicians.

He also works as a curator and artistic consultant, advising on exhibitions at STORE Contemporary, Berlin (2016), Pizza Pavillion, Venice (2015), Museum of the History of Science, Oxford (2015), and Cornell University (2014).

Toby is a trustee of the Royal Society of Musicians, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Society of Arts.