Professor Mark Bowden


A composer of chamber, orchestral, and vocal music, Mark Bowden’s work has been described as ‘an exceptional and absorbing pleasure’ (The Guardian), ‘invigorating’ (The Times) and ‘powerfully dramatic’ (BBC Radio 3).

Mark received the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize in 2006 for Sudden Light (BBC Symphony Orchestra). Further orchestral commissions followed (The Dawn Halts, Tirlun) before BBC National Orchestra of Wales appointed him Resident Composer between 2011 and 2016 resulting in a series of orchestral works (Lyra, Heartland, A Violence of Gifts). Recent orchestral works include Three Interludes (Welsh National Opera), Sapiens (London Sinfonietta), and Outside (BBC National Orchestra of Wales).

Mark’s chamber and vocal music includes The Breaking Wheel (Mark Simpson and Richard Uttley), Five Memos (Hyeyoon Park and Huw Watkins), Parable (London Sinfonietta), We Have Found a Better Land (BBC National Chorus of Wales) and The Soul Candle for baritone and piano. Mark has created vocal works for the stage (The Mare’s Tale, The Song of Rhiannon) and his abiding interest in dance has resulted in much collaboration with choreographers.

Mark has enjoyed associations with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Rambert Dance Company, Britten Pears Arts, Handel House Museum, Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge, Visby International Centre for Composers, and the MacDowell Colony. He was chair of the British Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music between 2014 and 2018 and Director of Composition at Royal Holloway between 2007 and 2022. The University of London awarded Mark the title of Professor of Composition in 2017 and in 2022 he was appointed Professor of Music at the Royal College of Music in London. Mark won a British Composer Award for Five Memos in 2016 and in 2019 his work Sapiens was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award.

Mark is currently writing his first full-length opera for Welsh National Opera.

Selected Compositions

Voices on the Air (2021) for chamber ensemble

Sapiens (2019) for solo saxophone & ensemble

Three Interludes (2018) for orchestra 

Five Memos (2015) for violin & piano

Airs No Oceans Keep (2015) for piano trio

A Violence of Gifts (2014) for soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra 

Heartland (2012) for solo percussion & orchestra 

Lyra (2011) for solo cello & orchestra

Find out more about Mark’s music. Visit website

View Mark’s profile on the Composers Edition website. Visit website

Listen to Mark’s music

Photo: © Raphaël Neal

Faculties / departments: Research


Research areas



Latest Publications

Bowden, M. (2021) Voices on the air. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2021) Wych elm. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2020) Outside. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2018) Sapiens. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2018) Three interludes. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2017) The breaking wheel. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2015) Five memos. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2015) We have found a better land. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2014) Beldam. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2014) Channel rose. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2014) A violence of gifts. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2013) Innocent’s song. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2013) The mare’s tale. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2012) Heartland. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2012) Parable. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2012) Viriditas. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2011) Lines written a few miles below. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2011) Lyra. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2011) Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune [Debussy arr. Bowden]. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2010) Airs no oceans keep. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2009) Drift. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2008) Tirlun. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2008) The song of Rhiannon, from the Mabinogion. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2008) The soul candle. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2007) Stealing poison. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2007) The dawn halts. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2005) Sudden light. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2004) Far to the northward lying. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2004) Low over the railroad. [Composition]

Bowden, M. (2002) Quartet. [Composition]


For enquiries please contact:

Professor Mark Bowden

Head of Postgraduate Taught Programmes

020 7591 4371

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