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Sam Hayden studied composition with Martin Butler, Jonathan Harvey and Michael Finnissy at the University of Sussex, Joseph Dubiel and David Rakowski at Columbia University, and Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory Den Haag. He has been the recipient of many prizes and awards including first prize in the 1995 Benjamin Britten International Competition and the composition prize of the 4th International Young Composers’ Meeting 1998 in Apeldoorn. He was awarded a summer 2000 residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, and a Fulbright Chester Schirmer Fellowship for Music Composition enabling him to work with Brian Ferneyhough at Stanford University in 2001. “Sunk Losses” for orchestra, composed during a residency at the Akademie Schloss Solitude Stuttgart in 2002, won first prize in the 2003 Christoph Delz Foundation Composers’ Competition and received its first performance, by the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, during the festival Musik im 21. Jahrhundert, in Saarbrücken in 2003. He has also had computer music collaborations with NOTAM Oslo, and the Centre Henri Pousseur Liège.
Hayden’s music has been widely performed in the UK and on the European continent. Performers have included ASKO Ensemble, Ensemble Antidogma, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Séverine Ballon, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Canto Battuto, Ensemble Cattrall, De Ereprijs, Ensemble Ernst, Ensemble Exposé, Gruppe für Neue Musik Baden, Takao Hyakutome, IGNM Zürich, Kokoro Ensemble, London Sinfonietta, José Menor, Darragh Morgan, Ensemble Mosaik, NYYD Ensemble, Ian Pace, RNCM Wind Orchestra, Mats Scheidegger, Ensemble Surplus, Uroboros Ensemble, Ine Vanoeveren and Orkest de Volharding. Numerous international festivals have featured Hayden’s music including Aldeburgh Festival, Ars Musica Brussels, BBC Proms, BIG Torino Biennale Arte Emergente, Bludenzer Tage für zeitgemässe Musik, Brighton Festival, ‘The Cutting Edge’ London, Festival Images Sonores Liège, Gaida Festival Vilnius, Gaudeamus Music Week Utrecht, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, ISCM World Music Days, London Ear Festival, MaerzMusik Berlin, ‘Meltdown’ and ‘State of the Nation’ at The Southbank Centre London, Música Contemporánea Fundación BBVA Bilbao, NYYD Festival Tallin, Rumor Festival Utrecht, Tage für Neue Musik Zürich, ‘Time of Music’ Viitasaari, Ultima Festival Oslo and the Warsaw Autumn. “dB [i-vii]” for Hammond organ/synthesizer, bass guitar and drum kit performed by Steamboat Switzerland is available on the German label GROB. A portrait album of chamber works (“presence/absence”) performed by Ensemble Mosaik, ELISION, Mieko Kanno and other soloists is available from NMC (NMC D168). An album of his larger scale works (“Substratum”) performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Musikfabrik and Quatuor Diotima was also released by NMC in 2019 (NMC D247).
Hayden’s Faber Music Millennium Series commission, “Collateral Damage”, was most recently performed by the Ensemble Intercontemporain in the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and by the London Sinfonietta at the Bath Festival. Subsequent commissions have included “Le Retour à la Raison” for solo percussion and live electronics for the Ictus Ensemble, “Emergence” for solo accordion, ensemble and electronics for Frode Haltli and the Oslo Sinfonietta, “Relative Autonomy” for the London Sinfonietta, “system/error” for Anne La Berge, Mieko Kanno and Claire Edwardes, “Substratum” for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, “schismatics II” for solo electric violin and computer for Mieko Kanno, “Die Modularitäten” for Ensemble Mosaik, “Permutazioni / a caso” for amplified ensemble for RepertorioZero, and “misguided” for four players, premiered by ELISION at the ABC’s Iwaki Auditorium Melbourne in 2011. “surface / tension” for solo oboe and ensemble was premiered by Christopher Redgate and CIKADA at the 2012 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Hayden's String Quartet 'Transience' commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and Quatuor Diotima was premiered by Quatuor Diotima during the 2014 Spitalfields Winter Festival, London. “Die Abkehr”, commissioned by Ensemble Musikfabrik, was premiered in 2017 by Ensemble Musikfabrik at the WDR Funkhaus am Wallrafplatz, Köln.
Hayden is Professor of Composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.