Raymond Yiu

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Raymond Yiu (Chinese: 姚恩豪; pinyin: Yáo Ēnháo; Cantonese Yale: Yiu4 Yan1 Hou4), born 1973; is a composer, conductor, jazz pianist and music writer.


Born in Hong Kong, he started piano lessons at the age of four. He went to England in 1990 and now lives in London. He began writing music as a teenager, and took up composing again while he was studying at Imperial College. As a composer, Yiu is mostly self-taught. He received informal consultations from several composers including Julian Anderson, Lukas Foss and David Sawer. He is the recipient of the spnm’s 2003 George Butterworth Award, a Bliss Trust Composer Bursary 2009, and a scholarship from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he completed a doctorate under the supervision of Julian Anderson.

1998 to 2006[edit]

Distance of the Moon, scored for eleven solo strings, was conducted by Lukas Foss at the Bridgehampton Music Festival 2001. Three of his works have been shortlisted by the spnm: Tranced Summer-Night, Tranced and Calendar of Tolerable Inventions from Around the World, which was performed by Lontano in 2002, and was subsequently broadcast by BBC Radio 3. It was also chosen by Sir Harrison Birtwistle for performance at the 2003 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival with the London Sinfonietta. Tranced was performed by the Northern Sinfonia at the 2003 Bath Festival and was presented as a dance piece at the Österreichisches Theatermuseum, Vienna, with choreography by Bernd Bienert.

Beyond the Glass, performed and recorded for broadcast by the BBC Singers, was nominated for the BASCA British Composer Awards 2004. A Whorl of Knowings Dim and Bright was premièred by Andrew Watts at the Cheltenham Music Festival 2004. Night Shanghai, premièred by Lontano in 2005 in London, has been performed by groups including Concorde Ensemble, Chroma and Ensemble 10/10.

2006 - The Original Chinese Conjuror[edit]

It began life as part of the Genesis Opera Project 2 (GOP2), supported by The Genesis Foundation, The Original Chinese Conjuror, with a libretto by Lee Warren, was one of the six projects chosen for development out of the 200-plus proposals. Although it was not selected as one of the three projects to be fully developed following a workshop performance of a selection of scenes in 2003, it attracted the attention of various opera companies, and it was eventually commissioned by Aldeburgh Almeida Opera (with the support of Genesis Foundation) for the 2006 Aldeburgh Festival and the Almeida Opera Season.

Subtitled A Musical Diversion Suggested by the Lives of Chung Ling Soo, The Original Chinese Conjuror was based on the real-life story of William Ellsworth Robinson, a.k.a. Chung Ling Soo, It was an experiment to combine different theatrical protocols into an integrated whole. It consists of twelve scenes, and scored for five singers and a band of six instrumentalists. All six performances during its initial run at the Aldeburgh Festival and Almeida Theatre were sold out.

2008 to 2013[edit]

2008 saw the premières of Faerie Tales, a Celebrating English Song commission, and Xocolatl, written for the London Symphony Orchestra as part of the 2008 Panufnik Young Composer Scheme. Maomao Yü, a quintet scored for piano and four traditional Chinese instruments - erhu, pipa, yangqin and guzheng - was commissioned by LSO UBS Soundscapes, and premiered by Lang Lang (pianist) and the Silk String Quartet with the composer conducting in April 2009. His second Celebrating English Song commission, "Dead Letters", was premiered in July 2010, and "The Earth and Every Common Sight", for soprano and piano, won the Tracey Chadwell Memorial Prize 2010.

His first major orchestral work, The London Citizen Exceedingly Injured, written for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, was premiered by the orchestra under the baton of Yu Long in January 2013. It was nominated in the orchestral category of the BASCA British Composer Awards 2013.

A new production of The Original Chinese Conjuror by Teatro Barocco took place at Musikverein in Vienna, April 2013.

BASCA British Composer Awards 2010[edit]

"Northwest Wind", a quintet for flute, clarinet, harp, viola and double bass to mark the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989, was written for and premiered by Lontano. It won the chamber category of the BASCA British Composer Awards 2010.

BBC Proms 2015[edit]

"Symphony" for counter-tenor and symphony orchestra - inspired by a poem by Basil Bunting and setting texts by Walt Whitman, Constantine P. Cavafy, Thom Gunn and John Donne - was given its world premiere by Andrew Watts, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Edward Gardner on 25 August 2015 as part of The Proms 2015. It was commissioned by the BBC.

Selected works[edit]


  • Symphony (2014–15) for counter-tenor and symphony orchestra
  • The London Citizen Exceedingly Injured (2012) for symphony orchestra
  • Xocolatl (2008) for symphony orchestra
  • Tranced (1999) for symphony orchestra


  • Ink Garden (2013) for concert brass band
  • Night Shanghai (2005) for six players
  • Distance of the Moon (2000–01) for eleven solo strings


  • Les Etoiles au Front (2012) for clarinet, accordion and string trio - shortlisted for the BASCA British Composer Awards 2012 chamber category
  • Oslo - Hommage à Lukas Foss (2011) for string quintet
  • Jieshi (2011) for qin and string quartet
  • Tubae Fori (2010) for two trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba
  • Suite from "The Original Chinese Conjuror" (2010) for clarinet, accordion, piano, violin and double bass
  • Oslo (2010) for hanghang, bass clarinet, viola and cello
  • Northwest Wind (2010) for flute, clarinet, harp, viola, double bass - winner of the BASCA British Composer Awards 2010 chamber category
  • Yi (2010) for string quartet
  • Maomao Yü (2009) for piano, erhu, pipa, yangqin and guzheng
  • Jewelled Elephant Syndrome (2006) for clarinet, cello and piano
  • Eyes to See Otherwise (2003) for string trio
  • Istori Paraleloak (2002) for saxophone quartet
  • Calendar of Tolerable Inventions from Around the World (2001-) for wind quintet
  • Tranced Summer-Night (1998–99) for string quartet


  • The Timeless Way of Cities (2011) for three mixed choruses a cappella
  • Mielo (2011) for female chorus a cappella
  • Beyond the Glass (2003) for SATB a cappella - shortlisted for the BASCA British Composer Awards 2004 choral category


  • Three Songs from 'Voices of London' (2012) for mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone and piano
  • Simplex Munditiis (2011) for counter tenor, baritone and piano
  • Sonnet (2011) for baritone and piano
  • Dead Letters (2010) for tenor and piano
  • The Earth and Every Common Sight (2010) for soprano and piano - winner of the 2010 Tracey Chadwell Memorial Prize
  • My Fatal Plurality (2010) for tenor, baritone and string quartet
  • Faerie Tales (2008) for counter tenor, tenor and piano
  • A Whorl of Knowings Dim and Bright (2004) for counter tenor solo
  • Forget-Me-Not (2003) for high voice and piano


  • Elegiac Fragments (2011) for viola solo
  • Black Wings (2008) for celesta or piano
  • on voit passer des torses (2005) for trumpet Bb and piano (published by Faber Music in "Fingerprints - Trumpet")
  • En la Confitería Ideal (2005) for trumpet Bb and piano (published by Stainer & Bell in "The Light Touch, Book II")
  • … as the sun rose, as the day sank (2005) for trumpet Bb and piano (published by Stainer & Bell in "The Light Touch, Book I")
  • podskok (2002) for piano (published by ABRSM in "Spectrum 4")

Stage Works[edit]

  • Elegiac Fragments (2011) – Incidental Music to Transport Production of Elegy
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (2009) – Incidental Music
  • The Original Chinese Conjuror, a Musical Diversion Suggested by the Lives of Chung Ling Soo (2003–06)

External links[edit]