Anthony Friend, Artistic Director
Photo by Matthew Johnson
Anthony Friend is a clarinettist acclaimed for the ‘vision and intensity’ of his playing (The Observer). His performances have been described by The Times as ‘delicious’ and by The Telegraph as ‘energised and raunchy, but not too much’, whilst Seen and Heard International has praised his ‘liquid tone’ and ‘spellbinding’ concerts. He has emerged as a leading figure in classical music, hailed as a ‘hero’ by The Arts Desk for his efforts to regenerate live concerts during the pandemic, and was a recipient of an award from the Royal Philharmonic Society for his Spotlight Chamber Concerts series.
Anthony’s chamber music collaborators have included string quartets such as the Allegri, Solem, Maxwell and Philharmonia Orchestra quartets, pianists Alexander Ullman, Antonio Oyarzabal, Joseph Havlat and Florian Mitrea, cellist Laura van der Heijden, double bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado, the Pelléas Ensemble and the Magnard Ensemble. In 2019 he was invited to give the annual Concerto per Peggy at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, at which he performed the Mozart Clarinet Quintet with the Philharmonia Orchestra string quartet.
As an orchestral musician he has worked with conductors such as Simon Rattle, Semyon Bychkov, Edward Gardner, Sakari Oramo, Kirill Karabits and Mark Wigglesworth. He regularly freelances with orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and English National Opera, and was a member of Southbank Sinfonia in 2017. He has been broadcast on BBC radio and television and played in major venues in the UK and abroad.
A keen exponent of contemporary and twentieth-century music, he is co-founder of Filthy Lucre, an immersive, mixed-genre new music series. He has played Terry Riley’s In C at King’s Place with Katia and Marielle Labèque, has given numerous world premieres and has worked with groups such as the Hermes Experiment, the Riot Ensemble and Ensemble x.y.
Aside from his performing and concert promoting, Anthony writes programme notes and liner notes for major international concert halls and record labels.
Anthony studied at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, the Royal Academy of Music and subsequently with Patrick Messina and Pascal Moraguès in Paris.