Andrew Chen

RPS Composer 2021 | Commission for Cheltenham Music Festival

About Andrew

Hi — my name is Andrew, and I am a Melbourne-born composer, now based in London. I'd say it took me a while before I really started composing, and it happened in a somewhat roundabout way. I remember being surrounded by all kinds of influences growing up – not just the classical 'classics' (as both a pianist and avid radio-listener) but also an eclectic mix of other things, from Blue Note albums on long car trips, to Kylie Minogue on the telly, to America, The B-52’s, Nujabes, Portishead, and others. Yet still, the idea of writing music as more than just a private hobby, let alone sharing it with other people, seemed kind of distant and even far-fetched.

Ultimately it was with the encouragement of my teachers and peers in secondary school that I began composing more and more, and soon after I was lucky enough in 2015 to move to the UK and further develop my craft at the Royal College of Music. In the time since I’ve had the chance to work with a range of wonderful musicians, including most recently Wu Wei, Explore Ensemble, and Ensemble Offspring from back in Australia, and learn from their unique and varied perspectives on the possibilities of sound.

It’s hard to put it exactly, but my current music is, I think, an amorphous, fleetingly-recognisable accumulation of all these things – and it’s the process of musical rediscovery that comes with writing every new piece that excites me most. I’m incredibly thrilled to be an RPS Composer this year, and I can’t wait to create some new sounds with new colleagues in the months and years ahead.

Highlights include

  • Member of the Ivors Academy Youth Council, Producer at ScoreFollower
  • Winner of the 2021 Dankworth Prize in Jazz Composition
  • Helping young musicians find their own compositional voice through work with RCM Sparks (the RCM's flagship youth education and outreach programme)
  • Commissioned to write a new piece for performance by the Laefer Quartet alongside the Royal Academy of Art's Abstract Expressionism exhibition in 2016
  • Having the chance to work with Australia's very own Ensemble Offspring

Find out more

If you are interested in finding out more about Andrew, hearing and keeping up to date with his work, take a look at his website and social media below: