Nicholas Maw

Born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, Nicholas Maw attended the Wennington School, a boarding school, in Wetherby in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He attended the Royal Academy of Music on Marylebone Road in London where his teachers were Paul Steinitz and Lennox Berkeley. He then studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and Max Deutsch.

From 1998 until 2008, Maw served on the faculty of the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, where he taught music composition. He had previously served on the faculties of Yale University, Bard College, Boston University, the Royal Academy of Music, Cambridge University, and Exeter University.

Maw is best known for Scenes and Arias (1962) for three female voices and orchestra, the orchestral pieces Odyssey (1987) and The World in the Evening (1988), the guitar work Music of Memory (1989) and a violin concerto (1993) written for Joshua Bell. His music has been described as neo-romantic but also as modernist and non-tonal (for instance Personí¦, his cycle of piano pieces).

In 2002 an opera, Sophie's Choice (based on William Styron's novel), was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. It was premièred at the Royal Opera House under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle, and afterwards received a new production by stage directorMarkus Bothe at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Volksoper Wien, which had its North American premiere by the Washington National Opera in October 2006. Maw also prepared a concert suite for orchestra based on the music.