Adam Gorb

Head of School of Composition

MA Cantab MMus Dip RAM FRNCM PhD University of Birmingham

Email: [email protected]

Teaching Composition 1/1 and in groups

Recruiting and auditioning composition students in the UK and abroad

Maintaining and monitoring the highest standards of composition training amongst the School of Composition staff

Overall responsibility for the day to day running of the School of Composition including classes, workshops, composer opportunities and portfolio submission

Liasing with other members of RNCM staff to provide performance opportunities for composition students

Liasing with relevent members of the music profession to provide openings and opportunities for RNCM student composers

Working alongside my colleagues to assure the importance of young composers and new music both within the environment of the RNCM and in the music world in general


Professor Adam Gorb was appointed Head of the School of Composition in 2000 and was made a Fellow of the RNCM in 2007.

A winner of three British Composer Awards, he studied music at Cambridge University (BA 1980), Composition at the Royal Academy of Music (where he graduated with the highest honours including the Principal’s Prize in1993), and in 2013 completed a PhD in Composition at Birmingham University. Prior to joining the RNCM Adam worked as a musical director and repetiteur in the West End and for repertory theatre and drama colleges, in addition to teaching composition at the London College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music’s Junior Academy. 

His compositions include orchestral, ensemble, chamber, solo and choral, and have been commissioned, performed, broadcast and recorded worldwide. His works, many of which are commercially available, have featured in new music festivals in Huddersfield, Cheltenham, Spitalfields and Canterbury, and he has been a featured composer at Luton and Bromsgrove music clubs. He has had concerts devoted to his music in the UK, the USA and Canada, and a chapter in A Composer’s Insight (Meredith Music USA 2013) is dedicated to his work.

Adam has been a guest lecturer in universities and conservatoires in the USA, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Holland, Ireland, Germany, Lithuania, Turkey, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Austria.

Personal Website

Current and Future Research

Forthcoming premieres

24 preludes for the pianist Clare Hammond to be played at festivals and music clubs in 2020/2021. CDrecording in December 2020.

Beggars Belief, with words by Ben Kaye; a new song cycle to be premiered by Yuliya Shvarko atr the RNCM in 2020.

Current Research

General researcxh into music written during the Holocaust – I was involved with a BBC Radio 4 documentary in January 2016 working with the Italian scholar Francesco Lotoro. I gave a talk on music in Terezin in September 2016 at the Wiener Library in London. I have lectured on the opera ‘The Path to Heaven (2017-18) at Manchester University, Beijing, China and University of Wichita, Kansas in 2019.

Future Research

A double concerto for violin, viola and wind ensemble for Michael Heald and Maggie Snyder and the University of Atlanta Wind Ensemble for 2021 date tbc.

New work for saxophonist Katia Beaugeais for the World Saxophone Congress in Tokyo in July 2021.

Song Cycle for 100th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Music  late 2020, date tbc.




Chapter on the Wind Music of Adam Gorb

Evan Feldman, A Composer’s Insight., Meredith Music (USA) 2013

College and External Research Roles

Overall External Examiner for the Music Degree at Colchester institute.

Specialist External Examiner in Composition for PhD portfolios at the Royal Academy of Music, University of Birmingham, University of Kent at Canterbury, King’s College, London, Goldsmith’s College and York University.

Teaching and composers competition adjudicating

Royal Marines School of Music

Research Funding

British Council  to travel to Taiwan for the WASBE (World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles) conference in July 2011 to work with Singapore Philharmonic Winds for a performance of Farewell

Arts Council and RNCM  for a performance of Anya 17 in Romania (October 2013) involving a collaboration between the director and singers from the original RNCM performances and a conductor, singers and instrumentalists from the Timisoara Academy of Music in Romania.

RNCM  for a CD of large ensemble works to be released on the Prima Facie label in 2016.

Arts Council, PRS Open Fund, John S Cohen Foundation, RNCM, Britten Pears Trust towards costs for the opera The Path to Heaven premiered in Leeds in 2018.

Douglas Steele Foundation for new work for recorder and string quartet for a concert in memory of Sir John Manduell premiered at Manchester University in April 2019

RVW Trust and Ida Carroll Foundation towards costs for a CD of 24 Preludes for piano to be recorded in December 2020.

Undergraduate Teaching


1/1 teaching and large and small group seminars


Postgraduate Teaching


1/1 teaching and group seminars


1/1 teaching and group seminars


Research Supervision

Present Composition Phd students

Matthew Brown

Isabel Guiterrez

Caroline Bordignon


Past Composition PhD students

Amir Konjani

Aled Smith

Gillian Menichino

Emma Ruth Richards

Jacob Thompson Bell

Lucy Pankhurst




  • Adam Gorb Magma 1200, 2020, Le Yu and Delia Stevens Two percussionists, , Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Adam Gorb 24 Preludes for Piano, 2020, Clare Hammond Piano Solo, Toccata, October 2021
  • Adam Gorb The Path to Heaven, A Descent, 2020, RNCM Wind Ensemble, Mark Heron, Wind Ensemble, , RNCM
  • Adam Gorb Featured composer at Chetham’s Summer Festival, 2019, Various, Various Various, , Chetham’s School
  • Adam Gorb Desta for String Ensemble, 2019, Ukranian Festival Orchestra, Paul Mann, String Ensemble, Toccata Classics, Summer 2018
  • Adam Gorb The Path to Heaven, 2018, 15 piece woodwind, brass, piano and percusion, First performance conducted by Mark Heron, 2 sopranos, 2 altos, tenor, baritone, bass 7 singers and Wind Ensemble, 
  • Adam Gorb In Solitude, For Company, 2016, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Clark Rundell, Symphony Orchestra, , BBC Studios Salford Quays, 26 January 2016
  • Adam Gorb WASBE San Jose, 2015, Various Wind Ensembles, Wind Ensemble, 
  • Adam Gorb New Work for Bramall Hall Ballroom, 2015, RNCM Students Flute, Cello, Harp, Guitar, , June 2015
  • Talks, Workshops and Masterclasses

  • The Path to Heaven , The Path to Heaven, Music Department, January 2019
  • Master Class with the Royal Marines , Master Class and competition adjudication, , January
  • Erasmus Trip Dublin , Visit to Royal Irish Academy to teach composition students, Duclin, November 5-7
  • Music in Concentration Camps , BBC Radio 4 Documentary, , January 27th 2016
  • Skype Master Class Awayday , Skype Master Class, USA, 29 Oct
  • Master Class New arrangement of Awayday for Saxophone Endsemble , Master Class on new arrangement for Sax Ensemble of my Wind Ensemble piece Awayday, Rochester New York State USA, April 7

Professional Activity


Adam is well known as a world leader in compositions for Wind Ensemble: Three Wind Ensemble works: Towards Nirvana (2002), Adrenaline City (2006) and Farewell (2008) have won British Composer Awards. He has had pieces commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Marines and the Tokyo Kosei Wind ensemble. Farewell has been performed in the UK, USA, Singapore and Taiwan. Many of his other Wind Ensemble works are played regularly world wide.

In 2010 a CD devoted to his Wind Ensemble works was released on the NMC label, and in the same year a large scale choral work Eternal Voices was premiered in Exeter cathedral. In 2012 his opera Anya 17 was premiered with the RLPO 10/10 ensemble to very positive reviews and the work won an award in the House of Commons for ‘Best stage or Screen production Dealing with Human Trafficking.’ The work has had productions at opera houses in Romania and Germany and in the USA.

In recent years Adam Gorb’s music has been featured at Oxford University in 2014, at the World Association of Symphonic Wind Bands and Ensembles in San Jose USA in July 2015, at Chetham’s Summer festival and Daejeng university in South Korea in 2019.

2016 saw the premiere of In Solitude, for Company with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Clark Rundell in January. The year also saw a CD devoted to his work his work Dancing in the Ghetto released on the Prima Facie label featuring the RLPO 10/10 ensemble, Manchester Camerata and the RNCM Wind Ensemble.

2017-18 was mainly tgaken up with the composition of The Path to Heaven: Adam Gorb’s fourth collaboration with the librettist Ben Kaye. This full length opera on the subject of the Holocaust in one act for a cast of seven and an ensemble of 15 wind, brass and percussion instruments was premiered at the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds and the RNCM in June 2018 with a cast from the RNCM and an ensemble of players from Psappha and the RNCM conducted by Mark Heron. The opera was directed by Stefan Janski. There have been two further productions in the USA in 2019 and 2020, and there are plans for performance at the World Music Congress in Kerkrade, Holland in 2021.

Other recent works include Gravity, premiered by Linda Merrick and the Kreutzer quartet in April 2017,  Pike’s Peak (2017) which has just been released on a CD on the Belgian Hafabra label, Let them Play, for saxophone quartet premiered at the World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb in July 2018, and a new work for percussion duo for Le Yu and Delia Stevens.

Adam Gorb’s next large scale project is 24 Preludes for the pianist Clare Hammond with performances in various venues in 2020/2021.