Philip Lancaster is a composer, a writer, and a textual and critical scholar based in southwest England.


I am a composer of vocal, choral and chamber music, having an especial interest in the relationships between poetry and music. My music has been performed at the Three Choirs Festival, Ludlow Weekend of English Song and elsewhere, and is published by The Maker’s Press and Stainer & Bell. Find out more here, or take a look at these examples of my recent work:

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Sonata: violare, col legno Poetry

My new poetry book, Sonata: violare, col legno, is out now! Published by the wonderful Guillemot Press, it is available here, priced just £6. The book features beautiful cover artwork by Anna Hussey.

You can get a taster of the poem either from the extracts on the Guillemot website, or from the video trailer below. I have also recorded the entire poem, which you can listen to on my Soundcloud page. There's also a little about the birth of the book on my blog.

Latest News

Encroaching Shadows on tour, Autumn 2022
During October and November, pianist Jelena Makarova has included various combinations of my haiku for solo piano in recitals in London, Brighton and Manchester, including the first complete performance of the cycle. I am hugely grateful to Jelena for performing the pieces and introducing them to so many new audiences. Full details are on the Performances page.

• Further Encroaching Shadows premières, June 2022
On 23 June, Jelena Makarova performed the final set of five haiku from my cycle of 17, Encroaching Shadows for solo piano, at Aylesbury Lunchtime Music. Four of these had not been heard before! Many thanks to Jelena, and to Jessica Summers of Living Songs, for taking on and including the pieces in their recital.

Carol of the Passion Première, 23 March 2022
Having been delayed from March 2020, cancelled in the first days of the pandemic, Carol of the Passion finally received its formal première at St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London. Selected by JAM in their late 2019 call for scores, it was performed by the choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge (dir. Sarah MacDonald), conducted by Michael Bawtree — and what a performance it was! Grateful thanks to JAM, Sarah, Michael, and to all of the singers.

Fallen Première, 30 October 2021
My collaboration with poet John Greening — Fallen, a song cycle for tenor and violin — received its first performance on Saturday 30 October at the Ludlow English Song Weekend. Tenor Ted Black and violinist Michael Foyle premièred the piece at St Laurence’s Parish Church, Ludlow, giving it as good, beautiful and moving first airing as I could have hoped for. Here's hoping that it might be heard again before long.

Encroaching Shadows haiku premières, 21 July 2021
On Wednesday 21 July at 1pm, pianist Gavin Roberts will give the first performance of five pieces from my new cycle of 17 haiku for solo piano, Encroaching Shadows. The performance will take place in a lunchtime recital by Gavin, soprano Donna Lennard, and violinist Mary Young at St. Marylebone Parish Church as part of the St. Marylebone Festival. Full details on the festival’s website.

• Book launch, 10 June 2021
My new poetry book, Sonata: violare, col legno is due out from Guillemot Press in June. An online Zoom launch for Sonata has been arranged by the press to mark the occasion, at which I will be reading alongside poet Naush Sabah. In fact, I shall be reading the whole book on that occasion! The event is free, and booking is open already at the Guillemot Press’s website. It would be lovely to see you there.

Gurney Songs & Cycles• New publications: Gurney songs and cycles (ii.2021)
Two new editions of works by Ivor Gurney have been published: my performing edition of The Western Playland is now available from Stainer & Bell; and the first volume in a new Gurney Trust Song Edition, co-edited with Ian Venables, has been published by The Maker’s Press.

• Forthcoming publication, June 2021: Poem, Sonata: violare, col legno (x.2020)
I’m delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of an extended poem, Sonata, which is to be published next year by the small poetry press, Guillemot Press. As with all of their publications, it promises to be a beautiful book, with specially commissioned cover artwork by Anna Hussey. Further detail will follow closer to the time.

• THE MAKER’S PRESS: New Publications and Availability (ix.2020)
A new publication and some of my other work is now available from a new publisher and shop, ‘The Maker’s Press’. Alongside the new publication of my edition and realisation of the original scoring of Ivor Gurney’s Five Elizabethan Songs, other original scores and my PoemCards are also newly available. Do please visit and have a look at what is available.

Into the Tomb Reviewed (March 2020)
A very kind review of my recently published motet, Into the Tomb, has just appeared in the new, April 2020, edition of Choir and Organ Magazine. It concluded that the piece would ‘make an effective contribution to any Holy Week concert, since the composer has captured the mood of the text so well.’ My thanks to the reviewer, Jeremy Jackman, and C&O. The piece is published by, and available from, Stainer & Bell.


• Poemcards launched (March 2020)
I have launched a new series of postcards — Poemcards — featuring an original poem and illustration by me. The first two designs are available now from my new shop on Etsy. Please do take a look!

OUP Gurney vol.1

Ivor Gurney: The Complete Poetical Works Vol.1 Published (March 2020)
After years of labour, the first volume of Ivor Gurney: The Complete Poetical Works, which I am co-editing with Tim Kendall, has been published. Full details of the book can be found on OUP’s website.

Into the Tomb

• New Choral Publication (October 2019)
My short choral work, Into the Tomb, for unaccompanied SATB and suitable for use in Holy Week, has now been published by Stainer & Bell. It is available both in print and as a PDF download from Stainer & Bell’s website. This publication is a great landmark for me, being the first of my original music to come to publication. Huge thanks to Stainer & Bell for taking it on.

Philip Lancaster

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