David Horne

Photo of David Horne

Professor in Composition and Head of Graduate School

BMus (Curtis), PhD (Harvard)

Email: [email protected]

Develops and oversees postgraduate taught programmes.

Directs the RNCM’s Hub for Artistic Research in Performance (HARP)

Professor David Horne teaches in both academic and principal study areas at the RNCM and directs HARP, the college’s Hub for Artistic Research into Performance. He supervises a wide range of composition, performance and musicology PhD students.

He is regularly commissioned and performed by major organisations in the UK and abroad, including Carnegie Hall, London Sinfonietta, the BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Scottish Chamber Orchestras. Ensembles who have performed his music include Ensemble 10/10, Nash Ensemble, Scottish Ensemble and, abroad, Boston Musica Viva, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Centre, Ensemble Moderne, the Nieuw Ensemble (Netherlands), Orchestra 2001 (Philadelphia) and Remix Ensemble (Portugal.) His solo commissions include those from Boris Berezovsky, Nicholas Cox, Evelyn Glennie, Nobuko Imai and Fred Sherry.

His concerto works include a Piano Concerto, a percussion concerto (Ignition) for Evelyn Glennie and a Double Violin Concerto for Clio Gould and Jonathan Morton. His full-length opera Friend of the People, was commissioned and premiered by Scottish Opera. His music has featured at the BBC Proms, Cheltenham, Huddersfield and St. Magnus Festivals as well as at international festivals in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Singapore and Strasbourg. Active as a pianist, and winner of the piano section, BBC Young Musician of the Year 1988, he has recently performed both his Piano Concerto and Flex with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Career highlights include a full evening concert of his works given by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Clark Rundell, subsequently broadcast. Last year he had a portrait concert as part of the BBC Proms, accompanying the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance of his Daedalus in Flight. His music is published by Boosey and Hawkes.

A respected teacher and mentor David is in demand as an educator at all levels. He has mentored emerging composers on Making Music’s Adopt a Composer programme and frequently advises and mentors composers on Sound and Music projects. He has a keen interest in working with younger musicians and is a key tutor on the Sound and Music Summer School and leads education projects throughout the UK.

Personal Website

Current and Future Research

Different Ghosts for Clarinet Quintet (2022)

Commission funded by Ida Carroll  Trust


World premiere at Aldeburgh Festival, 9 June, 2023

Linda Merrick and the Kreutzer Quartet

Commercial recording forthcoming.


Castle Rock for Mixed Septet (2023)

Commission funded by St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh  January 2023

World premiere of work in St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh  29 March, 2023

Online premiere on YouTube  15 June, 2023



Brontë Songs for mezzo soprano and ensemble (2023)

World premiere at Made in Manchester festival, 5 May, 2023

London premiere at Wigmore Hall, 17 June, 2023


The Turn of the Tide (2006)

Several recent European performances, including available online:


WDR Sinfonieorchester, Cologne



BRSO, Munich



Lorraine National Opera Orchestra



Invited Keynote speaker at Perform_Live Festival, Dublin, March 2022



Currently working on a monograph, Music in Contradiction, co-authored with Dr Simon Clarke. Planned for publication in 2024.

Undergraduate Teaching

Principal study composition tutor

Co-ordinator and tutor: Performing Contemporary Music (BMus3), Performance Studies (BMus4)

Lecturer: Research Electives:

Anatomy of the Symphony: from Berlioz to Shostakovich

20th Century Chamber Music

The Modern Concerto

20th Century Analysis

Five Great 20th Century Operas

The String Quartet from 1900

Puccini Operas

Wagner- Der Ring des Nibelungen

Composition and Performance

Lecturer: Music, Culture and Performance I (19th and 20th centuries)

Postgraduate Teaching

Principal study composition tutor

PG Composition Seminar

Co-ordinator and lecturer:

Composition Elective

Arrangement Elective

Research Lecture Recital

Research Methods: Artistic Research

Supervision: (Research Lecture Recital, Dissertations, Artistic Research)

Research Supervision

Primary supervisor:

Devon Bonelli – Composition

Elspeth Brooke – Composition

Christian Jones- Performance

Second supervisor:

Peggy Nolan- Performance

Nick Waldock- Performance


Previous supervision, completed:

Dr Jack Adler-McKean- Performance

Dr Jason Alder- Performance

Dr Kerry Baldwin- Performance

Dr Isabel Benito-Gutierrez- Composition

Dr Nate Chivers- Composition

Dr Zakiya Leeming – Composition

Dr Gillian Menichino – Composition

Dr Olga Paliy – Performance

Dr Silvia Lucas Rodriguez- Performance

Dr Davide Sciacca – Performance

Dr Kiana Shafei- Performance

Dr Maksim Štšura- Musicology (at the Royal College of Music)

Dr Jacob Thompson-Bell – Composition



    • David Horne Daedalus in Flight, 2013, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Clark Rundell, Full orchestra,
    • David Horne Virtuosic Instruments, 2012, Ensemble 10:10, Clark Rundell, Large ensemble, , Liverpool
    • David Horne Chime for Basset Clarinet and Piano, 2009, Mark Simpson, Ian Buckle Basset Clarinet (A) and Piano, NMC, Liverpool, 2010
    • David Horne Restless Feeling, 2008, Remix Ensemble, Peter Rundel, Large ensemble, , Porto, Portugal

Professional Activity

David is highly sought after as a workshop leader and has led projects and courses for the Aldeburgh Festival, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, London Sinfonietta, SPNM, and Wigmore Hall. He was composer in association with the RLPO from 2000-2003 and in 2006/07 was a visiting professor at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya. His compositions (over 90) are published exclusively by Boosey and Hawkes and his music has been recorded on several labels, including BMG and NMC.

Teaching composition at the RNCM since 2001, his students have won many awards and scholarships, including commissions and performances by prestigious orchestras and ensembles. A full-time member of staff since 2008, his teaching at undergraduate, postgraduate and research level reflects the wide range of his compositional and performance research.

David directs the RNCM’s Hub for Artistic Research in Performance (HARP) which held its first successful conference in 2018, attracting presenters from all over the world. He is an experienced External Examiner, holding this role at the Royal Academy of Music, University of Manchester, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Edge Hill University and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.