Edward Lambert

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For the American politician, see Edward M. Lambert, Jr..

Edward Lambert (born 1951) is an English composer who has written chamber music, vocal and choral works, and chamber operas. He is also a conductor and pianist.


Edward Lambert was educated at Christ's Hospital and read music at Merton College, Oxford (1970–1973) where he was the College's Choirmaster and conductor of the Kodaly Choir.[1][2] Lambert then trained as an opera repetiteur at the London Opera Centre (1973–74) while studying piano with Paul Hamburger. He went on to study composition under John Lambert (no relation) at the Royal College of Music (1976–1977).[3]


Lambert spent two years (1974–1976) working as repetiteur and assistant kapellmeister at the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landestheater in the North German town of Flensburg. There he came into contact with the new music of the 1960s and 1970s.[4] In 1976 he attended Darmstadt composers' course when György Ligeti was lecturing there: 'Epitaph' was selected for performance. The Park Lane Players gave performances of the Fantasy Trio (1977)[5] and the Canzonetta (Sonatina) for Clarinet & Piano.[6] As a result of attending the Gulbenkian course for composers and choreographers in 1977, led by Robert Cohan, he wrote Ephialtes (1978) for Scottish Ballet, Invention (1978) and Maxims, Hymn, Riddle (1982) for Jonathan Burrows and the Spiral Dance Company.[7] While serving his apprenticeship in Germany, he also worked at the Wexford Festival Ireland (1974–1976);[8] in 1977 he joined the music staff of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, (full-time 1977–1982, continuing freelance until 1996).

His Piano Quartet 'Emplay' was the winner of the Humphrey Searle Chamber Music Competition and played twice in the finals at the Purcell Room in 1983.[9][10] The Chamber Concerto (1983) was performed by Lontano at the 1984 Bath International Music Festival.[11][12] The Mass for Four Voices was performed at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.[13] In the 1980s and 1990s Lambert was involved in the Royal Opera’s developing outreach program around the country which explored innovative ways of composing operas alongside children and amateurs[14] (often in collaboration with the education arm of the Metropolitan Opera, New York):[15][16][17] this resulted in several opera projects including The Treasure and a Tale, (a fusion of Beowulf and the Sutton Hoo discovery in collaboration with the British Museum) performed at the Snape Maltings and The Button Moulder (1989–90), a specially commissioned work for teenagers adapted by Lambert from Ibsen's Peer Gynt.[18][19][20] This production travelled to the US.[21] The chamber opera Caedmon based on a play by Christopher Fry was produced by the Royal Opera at the Donmar Warehouse in May 1989 with Christopher Gillett in the title role.[22][23][24] All In The Mind (2004) was commissioned by W11 Opera, also to Lambert's own libretto, and performed at the Britten Theatre in London.[25][26] Several works have been performed in the Newbury area in Berkshire, England, where he now lives.[27][28][29][30] He is musical director of the Newbury Chamber Choir[31][32] and in 2013 formed a group called The Music Troupe of London.[33]

In 2014 The Music Troupe mounted productions of Six Characters in Search of a Stage, The Inarticulate Burr, Stillleben (Sonata for Strings as dance), and The Catfish Conundrum.[34][35]


  • Opera With A Title
  • An Opera of Daniel (arr)
  • Aspects of 'Work' (piano duo)
  • The Catfish Conundrum (opera)
  • The Inarticulate Burr
  • Shelley's Hymm
  • The Oval Portrait
  • Four Ideas for 2 oboes
  • Six Characters in Search of a Stage (opera)
  • The First Christmas Tree
  • Funeral Sentences
  • Sonata for Strings
  • Short Story
  • More or less? for oboe & piano
  • Laugh Out Loud for clarinet & piano
  • Brighter Than The Sun (Christmas Cantata)
  • Rossetti Requiem
  • Music for 4 Bassoons
  • Songs for a Florentine Apollo
  • Speed Matters for violin & harp
  • Trio Sonata in D
  • The Crucifixion
  • Concerto Cubico
  • du barocque...
  • All in the Mind (opera)
  • The Drean That Hath No Bottom (opera)
  • Te Deum
  • Symphony of Joys and of Sorrows
  • String Quartet no 3
  • String Quartet no 2
  • Praise the Lord
  • Meditation on a Ruin
  • Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis
  • Opening Chapters
  • The Treasure and a Tale (opera)
  • Ten Riddles
  • The Button Moulder (opera)
  • Caedmon (opera)
  • Chamber Concerto
  • Mass for Four Voices
  • Piano Quartet 'Emplay'
  • Invention for violin & piano
  • Fantasy Trio
  • Maxims, Hymn, Riddle
  • 3 Pieces for lute
  • Canzonetta for clarinet & piano
  • Pange Lingua
  • String Quartet no 1


  1. ^ 'Let's Make an Opera', In Touch no.22, Royal Opera House, London January 1991
  2. ^ BBC Radio Oxford recorded the choir's performance of the Verdi Requiem in 1973: 'Triumphant Kodaly', Oxford Mail, 5 March 1973
  3. ^ 'Let's Make an Opera', In Touch no.22, Royal Opera House, London January 1991
  4. ^ Heft nr.15, 1974–1975, Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landestheater und Sinfonieorchester GmbH: One of Lambert's first assignments was to play in the same evening the solo piano in Bernd Alois Zimmerman's Piano Trio 'Présence' and the soloist in Frank Martin's Harpsichord Concerto.
  5. ^ St Bartholomew's International Festival of Twentieth Century Music, souvenir book, July 1978: Lambert's Fantasy Trio was given on 11 July 1978
  6. ^ Society for the Promotion of New Music, London, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, 8 March 1979
  7. ^ 'Dancing for Riverside', National Organisation for Dance and Mime, Sadler's Wells Theatre: 'Invention" was re-titled 'The energy between us' when presented by Jonathan Burrows at the Riverside Studios on 27 March 1983. Maxims, Hymn, Riddle was re-titled 'Cloister' for Spiral Dance Company when it performed at the Dance Umbrella festival at The Place in October 1982.
  8. ^ Lambert played harpsichord continuo in 'La pietra del paragone' Radio 3 broadcast, Radio Times, 30 November 1975
  9. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 28 April 1983, p.15: Anthony Payne wrote that the music was 'most inventively-textured and syntactically original...'
  10. ^ Felix Apprahamian, The Sunday Times, London, 1 May 1983 described the work as a 'long but competently scored piece'.
  11. ^ 'Lontano', The Guardian, London, 28 May 1984: Meirion Bowen described the work as 'most approachable'
  12. ^ 'Taking to the headiest waters', The Times, London, 28 May 1984: Nicholas Kenyon wrote that the piece 'with its mangled trumpet-and-drum fanfares and violent conflicts between striding unison lines for strings and wind, was strikingly imagined and very well played...'
  13. ^ Music In Our Time, Radio Times, London, 28 February 1985.
  14. ^ for example: 'House music', The Times Educational Supplement, London, 1 June 1990: a project at Claydon House in collaboration with the National Trust
  15. ^ 'In Touch', Royal Opera House, London, April 1988, p.3
  16. ^ Words and Music, London, July 1988, p.3
  17. ^ 'An operatic treat!' Evening Telegraph, Peterborough, March 281990
  18. ^ 'Student Performances', Opera Magazine, London July 1990.
  19. ^ 'Teenage rock 'n' troll', The Times, London, 3 April 1990
  20. ^ 'New role for Peer', The Times Educational Supplement, London, 25 May 1990
  21. ^ 'Student opera project is impressive in scope', Press & Sun, Binghamton NY, 27 October 1990
  22. ^ The Independent, London, 20 May 1989, p.33: Robert Maycock wrote that the opera's music was 'spare and intensely lyrical... providing opportunities for long spans of concentrated and beautiful singing...'
  23. ^ This event was the product of a crowdfunding campaign by The Independent: 'The Garden Venture comes into bloom', The Independent, London, 15 May 1989, p.19.
  24. ^ 'Beside the seaside', The Sunday Telegraph, 28 May 1989: Malcolm Hayes wrote that the opera took 'a cripplingly slow half-hour to get going, but which brought rewards when it did...'
  25. ^ 'Youthful opera stars stage a futuristic show', Kensington & Chelsea News, 25 November 2004
  26. ^ All in the Mind, Marion Friend, Opera Now, March/April 2005
  27. ^ 'Christmas Tree premiere', Newbury Weekly News, 13 December 2012
  28. ^ 'Ambition realised', Newbury Weekly News, 23 December 2011
  29. ^ 'Inspired by life, death and poetry', Newbury Weekly News, 18 November 2010
  30. ^ 'Baroque with a Passion', Newbury Weekly News, 21 June 2007
  31. ^ 'Conductor a worthy successor', Newbury Weekly News, 2 January 2003.
  32. ^ see concert programmes: http://issuu.com/lambertmusic/stacks/94504db6f3934ff5aad2b233f376e1ba
  33. ^ The Music Troupe of London Retrieved 10 January 2014
  34. ^ [1] Retrieved 4 November 2014
  35. ^ [2] Tête-a-Tête Opera Festival

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