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)

David Horne holds a Personal Chair in Composition and is Head of the Graduate School at the Royal Northern College of Music. He has been commissioned and performed by major organisations internationally, including Carnegie Hall, London Sinfonietta, Nash Ensemble, Ensemble Moderne, the BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Scottish Chamber Orchestras. Recent performances have included by the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Opéra national de Lorraine and Ensemble 10:10.

Active as a pianist, and winner of the piano section, BBC Young Musician of the Year 1988, he has performed both his Piano Concerto and Flex with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no 3 at the BBC Proms. Career highlights include a full evening concert of his works given by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Clark Rundell, and he has had portrait concerts as part of the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series. 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. He directs HARP, the RNCM’s Hub for Artistic Research into Performance and regularly presents on his research in the UK and abroad.

Personal Website

Current and Future Research

Horne, D., 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.


Research Funding

Vaughan Williams Foundation

The Hinrichsen Foundation


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

Selected Outputs


    • Horne, D., Different Ghosts for Clarinet Quintet, (2022)
    • Horne, D., Castle Rock for Mixed Septet (2023)
    • Horne, D., Brontë Songs for soprano and ensemble (2023)

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.