Raymond Yiu (姚恩豪, b. 1973) is a composer, jazz pianist, conductor and writer on music. Born in Hong Kong, he came to England in 1990 and started piano lessons at the age of four. He began writing music as a teenager, and took up composing again while he was studying at Imperial College. As a composer, Raymond is mostly self-taught. He received informal consultations from several composers including Julian Anderson, Lukas Foss, David Matthews 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 & Drama, where he is currently undertaking a doctorate under the supervision of Julian Anderson.
Yiu’s early work received the advocacy of Lukas Foss, who conducted Distance of the Moon at the Bridgehampton Music Festival 2001. In the UK, three works were shortlisted by the spnm in successive years (2000-2002): Tranced Summer-Night, Tranced and Calendar of Tolerable Inventions from Around the World, the latter being performed by Lontano and broadcast by BBC Radio 3, and subsequently also chosen by Sir Harrison Birtwistle for performance at the 2003 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival by 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 shortlisted 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, followed by performances at the Perth International Festival and Berliner Festspiele. Night Shanghai was first performed by Lontano as part of La Linea Festival 2005 in London, and taken up by several other ensembles, with subsequent performances by Concorde Ensemble (Ireland), Chroma and Ensemble 10/10.
The Original Chinese Conjuror, a ‘musical diversion’ with libretto by Lee Warren, was commissioned by Aldeburgh Almeida Opera (with the support of the Genesis Foundation) for the 2006 Aldeburgh Festival and the Almeida Opera Season.
Recent projects have included Maomao Yü, a quintet for piano and traditional Chinese instruments commissioned by LSO UBS Soundscapes for Lang Lang and the Silk String Quartet; Xocolatl, written for the London Symphony Orchestra as part of the 2008 Panufnik Young Composer Scheme; two Celebrating English Song commissions, Faerie Tales (2008) and Dead Letters (2010); and a further song cycle, The Earth and Every Common Sight, for soprano and piano, which won the Tracey Chadwell Memorial Prize 2010.
Northwest Wind, written for and premiered by Lontano, won the chamber category of the BASCA British Composer Awards 2010.