Tom Coult

Tom Coult’s playful and seductive music has been championed by many of the UK’s major orchestras and ensembles, and in 2021 he was made Composer-in-Association with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

His first opera, Violet, with text by Alice Birch, was premiered in 2022 at the Aldeburgh Festival and on tour, and was described by The Telegraph as “the best new British opera in years”. It has already been staged in second and third productions in Paris and Ulm, Germany, in 2022 and 2023, and has won or been nominated for: an International Opera Award, a South Bank Sky Arts Award, a Critics Circle Award, an IVORS Composer Award and a UK Theatre Award.

“Jimi Hendrix first made me want to make music, Tom Waits made me want to make it unusual. Stravinsky made me want to write it down, and Pierre Boulez made me want to make it sensual.”

Tom’s music has been described as ‘funny and surreal and delicately poetic, all at once’ (The Telegraph), and ‘methodically crafted yet bewitchingly original’ (The Guardian).

What does being one of Tom’s patrons look like?

Tom’s patrons can expect musings and updates documenting rehearsals, performances and recordings – “the moments when notes on page ignite with actual musicians” – as well as insights into his creative process as develops and pitches his second opera.

Supporting a composer on Music Patron gives you a first-hand perspective on the many elements within the creative process and an understanding of the authentic journey of a composer. You can learn more about what it’s like to be a patron here.


Tom’s large-scale pieces have included Pleasure Garden, a concerto that violinist Daniel Pioro has performed with the BBC Philharmonic and London Philharmonic Orchestras, Beautiful Caged Thing for soprano Claire Booth and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and St John’s Dance (premiered by Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra to open the First Night of the 2017 BBC Proms).

He has enjoyed further associations with ensembles such as Britten Sinfonia and London Sinfonietta (which premiered Spirit of the Staircase, nominated for a South Bank Sky Arts Award), and he has been Composer-in-Residence at Aldeburgh Festival, Switzerland’s Musikdorf Ernen Festival, and Oxford Lieder Festival.

Further performances have come from Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, Scottish Ensemble, and Manchester Camerata, while chamber works have earned performances by ensembles including Arditti Quartet, Quatuor Diotima, Psappha, Fidelio Trio, Riot Ensemble, Trondheim Soloists and soloists from the Philharmonia.

Tom studied at the University of Manchester with Camden Reeves and Philip Grange and at King’s College London with George Benjamin. Between 2017 and 2019 he was Visiting Fellow Commoner in the Creative Arts at Trinity College Cambridge, and has taught on the Britten Sinfonia Academy composition course and with Aldeburgh Young Musicians. Awards include a Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists, the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Prize, Critics’ Circle Award and the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize.

Listen Three Pieces that Disappear | Tom Coult

Become a patron and connect with Tom

Recent updates from Tom

🔒 Reflections on recent music

Some exploratory thoughts about how my music has changed since the pandemic.

This update is only available to Tom's patrons. Already support Tom? Login

🔒 Day 20 of ‘Violet’ – an audio co...

An audio commentary of a scene from my opera Violet, about a village that begins losing hours from its day. ...

This update is only available to Tom's patrons. Already support Tom? Login

Scroll to Top