Graham Fitkin was born in Cornwall in 1963, studied at Nottingham University with Peter Nelson and Nigel Osborne and then travelled to The Netherlands to study with Louis Andriessen at Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague.
Composing for solo or multiple pianos has been central to his work. He works regularly with pianist Kathryn Stott, founded the four-pianist group ‘Nanquidno’ and worked closely with six piano ensemble Piano Circus.
A ‘Composer for Dance Award’ in 1990 led to a new work for David Massingham Dance. Ever since then Graham has worked frequently with choreographers around the world with recent performances being given by Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, Wayne MacGregor's Random Dance, Pacific Northwest Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Bi-Ma, Sidonie Rochon, Munich Ballet and the National Ballet of Portugal. Fitkin won the International Grand Prix Music for Dance Video Award in 1994.
Graham has collaborated with many of today's foremost performers of new music including the Nederlands Blazersensemble, Apollo Saxophone Quartet, Smith Quartet, Ensemble Bash, Combustion Chamber and the London Chamber Orchestra.
Graham was resident composer with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra between 1994-96 and since then several new works have been commissioned and composed for orchestra, and performances include those by the Halle, BBC Philharmonic, English Northern Philharmonia, RSNO, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Bournemouth Symphony, Ulster, Nederlands Radio Orchestra, and Uster Festival (Switzerland).
Performing has always been an important aspect of Graham’s work and the Fitkin Group was founded in 1996 to perform the composer's work alongside other contemporary composers (e.g. Bryars, Poppy, Feldman) and has given performances throughout the UK and EU.
Over the past 10 years Graham has directed many educational and community projects including 3 UK PRS Composer in Education residencies, 7 regional community projects, a number of university seminars, composition masterclasses and also directed workshops in UK, Japan and Soweto.
Recent works include Graham’s Double Concerto for two Pianos and Orchestra - CIRCUIT, commissioned by the BBC and featuring soloists Kathyrn Stott and Noriko Ogawa, and KAPLAN, a sixty minute piece for keyboards based on the central character from Hitchcock’s North By Northwest. Using video and live webcams and concerned with mistaken identity, it toured the UK, Japan and Holland in 2005.
Other recent collaborations include LENS a piano trio commissioned by the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, a new BBC commission for the Duke Quartet - PAWN, a solo for the new organ at Birmingham Symphony Hall and new interactive work GEOGRAPHY - a multi location work for computers and video. There will be three new CDs released in 2006 and 2007.
New commissions for 2007 include a guitar concerto for Tom Kerstens, a UK touring project with Tim Garland and John Pattitucci and a new orchestral work for Goldberg.
Il Giornale Della Musica, Italia “..e uno dei compositori inglesi piu interessanti della nuova generazione.”
Classic CD, UK on FLAK “Fitkin’s majesterial debut simply has no equal”
De Volkskrant, Nederland on LOG “The real discovery of this year’s festival.”
Daily Telegraph, UK on HENRY “strong rhythmic shapes, sharp melodic profiles, lush orchestral overtones and rich harmonic underpinning.”
Musicweb.com, US on KAPLAN “This disc must be one of the most enigmatic ever issued. Ignore the title and enjoy the extraordinary imaginative sound tapestries.”
The Independent, UK on AGNOSTIC “one of the most important pieces of the age... achingly romantic, British pastoral updated to an edgy, utterly contemporary, urban landscape”
Seattle Post, US on FERVENT “a superb ballet score. It has ripeness and rigor, structure and a seeming lack of it.”
The Guardian, UK on LOUD “a delight that defied all fashionable labels and simply conjured its own whirlygig of ideas with such spontaneity and control.”
Ritmo, Espana on HUOAH “musica para accompanar una escena de Burger King.”
Washington Herald, US on ARACT “driven by the suspenseful Hitchockian score”
with Graham Fitkin