Sally Beamish was born in London in 1956 and started writing music and playing the piano at an early age. She later studied viola at the Royal Northern College of Music, where she also received composition lessons from Anthony Gilbert and Sir Lennox Berkeley. She went on to study in Germany with the Italian violist Bruno Giuranna.
Although she always considered herself primarily a composer, for a decade her career centred on the viola, particularly as a member of the Raphael Ensemble, with whom she made four discs of string sextets.
Her music embraces many influences; particularly jazz and Scottish traditional music. The concerto form is a continuing inspiration, and she has written for many soloists, including Tabea Zimmermann, Håkan Hardenberger and Branford Marsalis. Her music is performed and broadcast internationally, and since 1999 she has been championed by the BIS label, who have recorded much of her work. Recent commissions include a concerto for percussionist Colin Currie, with the Bergen Symphony Orchestra, Scottish and Swedish Chamber Orchestras, and Stanford Lively Arts, California. Her string quartet for the Elias Quartet, Reed Stanzas, received its premiere at the 2011 BBC Proms.
Published by Gonzaga