• Hans Abrahamsen named as the first Oliver Knussen Chair of Composition
  • Ryan Wigglesworth becomes Richard Rodney Bennett Professor of Music

We are delighted to announce two major appointments. Ryan Wigglesworth becomes the new Richard Rodney Bennett Professor of Music, taking over from Oliver Knussen, who had held the post since 2014. Following Knussen’s death last year, we are also announcing a new professorship in his honour, and are delighted to welcome Hans Abrahamsen as the first Oliver Knussen Chair of Composition.

As Richard Rodney Bennett Professor of Music, Wigglesworth will direct concerts, including with the Academy’s specialist new music group, the Manson Ensemble. Both Wigglesworth and Abrahamsen will be teaching Academy composers as well as leading group work, seminars and workshops throughout the year.

Wigglesworth and Abrahamsen join the Composition and Contemporary Music Department’s roster of full-time and visiting professors including Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Philip Cashian, James Newton Howard, Edmund Finnis, Helen Grime, Tod Machover, Andrew Norman, David Sawer and Bent Sørensen.

The Academy’s Principal, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, said:

‘As we say farewell to Oliver Knussen, a composer, conductor, teacher and polymath, we are delighted to honour him by creating a brand-new Chair of Composition in his name, to be conferred on the great Danish composer, Hans Abrahamsen.

‘Ryan Wigglesworth will assume Olly’s former position as the next Richard Rodney Bennett Professor of Music, as performer and composer. Both figures enjoyed close personal and working connections with Olly and I know he would be completely thrilled that Hans and Ryan have joined the Academy family. Ryan’s celebration concert in December featuring Olly’s The Way to Castle Yonder was a particularly moving and memorable tribute.

‘We look forward to continuing the legacy of a great musical creator through these new appointments.’