LIONEL SAINSBURY’s music has recently garnered rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, and 2018 saw the world premiere recording of his orchestral piece Time of the Comet, performed by the Moravian Philharmonic under their chief conductor Petr Vronský (on ‘Prisma’, Navona Records NV6141).

Lionel was born in Wiltshire in 1958. He began to play the piano at an early age and soon started to compose his own music. He later studied - composition with Patric Standford and piano with Edith Vogel - at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

At the age of 21 he was awarded a Mendelssohn Scholarship, which brought him into contact with composers as diverse as Edmund Rubbra and John McCabe, and in Paris with Henri Dutilleux.

Lionel’s music has since been performed worldwide, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, Radio France, NHK TV/Radio in Japan, and many channels in the US. Recordings of his work are available on Naxos, Dutton Epoch, EM Records, Navona Records, and EMI Classics for Pleasure.

Lionel Sainsbury’s catalogue to date includes concertos for violin and for cello, a substantial body of piano music, and works for violin, solo guitar, solo flute, clarinet and piano, and for two pianos.

Amongst artists who have performed his music are pianists Mark Bebbington, Clara Rodriguez, Jack Gibbons, and Matthew Rickard; violinists Tasmin Little, Vit Mužik and Rupert Marshall-Luck; clarinetist Anna Hashimoto, and guitarist Craig Ogden.

In 2002 Lionel’s Violin Concerto was premiered at the Worcester Three Choirs Festival, with Lorraine McAslan and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Adrian Lucas. Lorraine McAslan subsequently recorded the work with the BBC Concert Orchestra under Barry Wordsworth (Dutton CDLX 7245.

The premiere recording of Lionel’s Cello Concerto followed in 2012 (Dutton CDLX 7284), performed by Raphael Wallfisch, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Martin Yates.

In July 2014 Lionel Sainsbury was American music commentator Jim Svejda’s guest in a feature about his work on The Evening Program on KUSC, Los Angeles.

Also active as a performer, Lionel has recorded two CDs of his piano music for Navona Records, NH: ‘Sunlight & Storms’ (NV5951), released 2014; and ‘Andalusian Fantasy’ (NV5999), released 2015

His concerts have included the music of Bach, Scarlatti, Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin, Rachmaninov and Schumann, alongside his own compositions.

He premiered his Five Tangos at Oxfordshire’s Music in the Vale in 2012. More recently he has given solo recitals in Argentina and at the Dean & Chadlington Summer Music Festival. In 2015 he was invited to perform a programme of his own work at the English Music Festival.

Portrait of Lionel Sainsbury by
Roberto Castellini, March 2018