Guildhall School of Music & Drama in association with The Royal Opera has announced Oliver Leith as the fourth Doctoral Composer-in-Residence.

Launched in 2013, the collaboration is one of the first examples of an opera company and conservatoire joining forces to offer a Composer-in-Residence studentship which leads to a doctoral degree. The studentship is fully funded and offers one composer every two years the opportunity to be Doctoral Composer-in-Residence over a three year period, during which time the composer will research and write a major work, staged by The Royal Opera at the end of the residency.

Leith’s forthcoming opera, taking inspiration from moments in cinema that have made a strong impression on him, will explore how to create a theatrical world in opera through shifts between diegetic and non-diegetic sounds (sounds audible to actors vs. sounds only meant for the audience). He is particularly interested in exploring ways of composing that start with a visual stimulus.

Commenting on his appointment, Leith says: ‘I am excited to be a fly on the wall at The Royal Opera and cannot wait to start working on something with them and my alma mater, Guildhall School, as I experiment and question what opera means to me.’

Previous winner of a British Composer Award in the small chamber category (2016) and the Royal Philharmonic Composition prize (2014), Leith has been commissioned by groups such as London Sinfonietta, Festival Aix-en-Provence, London Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Festival and St John’s Smith Square. His music has been performed in venues such as the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall.

Kate Wyatt, creative producer at The Royal Opera, said: ‘We are thrilled to be working with Oliver Leith, our fourth Doctoral Composer-in-Residence, who is developing such a distinctive body of work … Oliver’s music, often starting with the visual, grounded in human themes and exploring the poetry in the everyday and his collaborative approach to creation is a natural starting point for us to explore new ways of making opera together.’