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Irish/British composer Robin Haigh (b.1993) works internationally with leading orchestras and soloists, writing pieces of “scintillating unpredictability” (Tom Service, BBC Radio 3) that have been performed over 100 times, including more than 60 repeat performances. Haigh’s work, which has been described as “timeless”, “dream-like” (Musical Opinion Magazine), and “remarkably discombobulating” (Seen and Heard International) is regularly honoured with national and international prizes, including the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, the William Mathias Composition Prize, the Eric Coates Prize, the Dante Moro Competition, the BDRS Competition, the WCCMF Competition, and the Composer Slam European Championship.

Haigh’s work first gained widespread attention in 2017, when his recorder quintet In Feyre Foreste won him a British Composer Award aged just 24, being described by the judges as “completely refreshing” and “magical”. This soon led to the commission of the chamber orchestra piece Grin by the Britten Sinfonia in 2019, which received three performances led by Thomas Gould and a BBC Radio 3 broadcast. The piece won an Ivor Novello Award, hailed by the judges as a “quirky, playful, bold and original work with a highly distinctive musical language and sound”, with Neil Fisher of The Times writing that “[Haigh] paints a smeared canvas teeming with cheeky flourishes, including weird, almost Mahlerian jigs and manically balletic swooshes”.

2021 saw Haigh’s Royal Festival Hall debut with his orchestral piece SLEEPTALKER receiving its premiere in a London Philharmonic Orchestra concert conducted by Jack Sheen, curated by Brett Dean to reflect composers' responses to the pandemic. The Telegraph’s Ivan Hewitt described the piece as “an engagingly odd landscape of modernist fragments and other musical memories”, also writing that “the seriousness of all these composers [...] was an inspiration”.

The following year saw the commission of his first full length concerto THE DREAMERS for four trombones and large ensemble, a piece hailed in The Trombonist as “a major addition to the repertoire”. The twenty minute work formed the centrepiece of a 2022 Aldeburgh Festival concert including Slide Action Trombone Quartet, Britten Pears Contemporary Ensemble, and conductor Jonathan Berman that was described by Frankfurter Allgemeine as “a breath of fresh air” and “a revealing insight into the mentalities of today’s millennials”.
Upcoming commissions include works for Nicholas Daniel OBE, Zubin Kanga, The Marsyas Trio, Mikeleiz-Zucchi Duo, Willinger Duo, Isaac Shieh, Bangor Music Festival, and a second piece for Orchester im Treppenhaus.

Working with soloists has formed an important part of his output; he has collaboratied closely with recorder player Tabea Debus on Aesop and In Feyre Foreste and with folk accordionist Luke Carver Goss and the Royal Northern Sinfonia on his piece Zorthern. His work for piano and strings SUONATORE (“music that amazes, brings extraordinary humour, rhythm, and freshness” - Amico del Popolo) was premiered in an Italian mountain range by Silvia Tessari and the Dolomiti Symphonia Orchestra, and in 2022 Haigh himself played alongside Orchester im Treppenhaus as “untrained recorder soloist” for the critically acclaimed premiere of his piece AESOP 2. The work was hailed in the German press as “sophisticated”, “hypnotic” and “artful”, and was scored 49 points out of 50 by the audience present at the Composer Slam European Championship in Hanover, where the piece was chosen as joint-winner.

Amongst Haigh’s greatest supporters are the London Symphony Orchestra, who since 2018 have presented the premieres of four of his chamber and large ensemble works - Twenty One Minute Pieces, Aesop, Fergal is Fuming!, and Nasubi - with a piece for the full orchestra to be completed in 2023. Other champions of his work include the Ligeti Quartet, who have performed his piece Samoyeds (available on the nonclassical record label) extensively, and the unconventional chamber ensemble The Hermes Experiment who have done the same with his commission for them, Kalimotxo. His 2020 solo work Nasubi has been widely recorded and performed, by string players such as Robert Irvine, Martin Suckling, Darragh Morgan, Emily Hiemstra and Clare O’Connell.

Haigh’s 2014 opera The Man Who Woke Up, his first major work, has been performed in London, Louisville and Chicago, with American press hailing the piece as “possibly the funniest opera this side of Gilbert & Sullivan”, “irreverent”, “not to be missed” (Arts-Louisville) and “a highly successful thirty-minutes of provocative entertainment” (Chicago Theatre Review).  

He studied at Goldsmiths College and the Royal Academy of Music with Dmitri Smirnov, Edmund Finnis, and David Sawer, and has worked as an assistant to Sir Harrison Birtwistle. In 2021 he submitted his AHRC funded PhD, “Composing Millennial Nostalgia”, that was undertaken at the University of York and supervised by Martin Suckling.