Robert Saxton started composing at the age of six. Guidance in early years from Benjamin Britten and Elisabeth Lutyens was followed by periods of study at both Cambridge and Oxford Universities with Robin Holloway and Robert Sherlaw Johnson respectively, and also with Luciano Berio.
He was Head of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (1991-97) and Head of Composition and Contemporary Music at the Royal Academy of Music from 1998-99. He is currently Professor of Composition and Tutorial Fellow in Music at Worcester College, University of Oxford. He became a DMus at Oxford in 1992. His music from 1972 until 1998 was published by Chester/Music Sales and, since then, by the University of York Music Press and Ricordi (Berlin). Recordings have appeared on the Sony Classical, Hyperion, Metier, EMI, NMC, Divine Art and Signum labels.
Sonata for Brass Band on a Prelude of Orlando Gibbons was commissioned by Peter Bassano for the City of Cambridge Brass Band, with funds provided by the Golland Trust and the RVW Trust. The first performance was given by the City of Cambridge Brass Band conducted by Peter Bassano on 16th November 2104, and the second by the Cory Band at the Royal Northern College of Music on 25th January 2015.
Peter Bassano requested that the ten-minute work be based on music of Gibbons (1585-1625) who, although born in Oxford, was a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge in the late sixteenth century. I selected a short keyboard prelude by Gibbons which I planned would close the work and, having never previously written for brass band, practised scoring for the medium by orchestrating this prelude, transposing it accordingly into B flat, particularly as regards the registers and sonority of the final chord. I then composed the remainder of the music to create a journey which reveals the (Gibbons) source at the close.
The four linked movements are: Praeludium, Passacaglia, Dance and Postludium (the Gibbons Prelude). Robert Saxton