Morgan Hayes won the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s coveted Lutoslawski Prize in 1995
He subsequently studied with Michael Finnissy, Simon Bainbridge and Robert Saxton. His early works include Mirage (1995) and Viscid (1996), the latter recorded by the Composers Ensemble for NMC.
Since then, a series of ambitious pieces composed for many of Britain’s leading new-music ensembles, has included Shellac (1997) for piano and orchestra, and Slippage (1999). An accomplished pianist, Hayes has also composed numerous works for solo piano, which have been performed by soloists including Andrew Ball, Stephen Gutman, Rolf Hind, Sarah Nicolls, Ian Pace and Jonathan Powell.
As 2001–2002 Leverhulme Composer-in-Residence at the Purcell School, Hayes’s major achievement was the Tatewalks project, based on Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and involving young composers in collaboration with photographer Malcolm Crowthers and with the London Sinfonietta, who featured the work in the 2002 State of the Nation festival; the Sinfonietta also commissioned Hayes’s transcription of Squarepusher’s Port Rhombus for the South Bank Centre’s 2003 Ether Festival.
Hayes’s works include Opera for violin and piano, inspired by Italian director Dario Argento’s giallo classic Macbeth and written for Darragh Morgan and Mary Dullea; Lute Stop (2003) for solo piano, premiered by Sarah Nicolls; his 2005 BBC Proms debut with Strip; and the Violin Concerto, a Birmingham Contemporary Music Group Sound Investment commission, premiered by the soloist Keisuke Okazaki.
More recent commissions include Original Version, for the 2007 Spitalfields Festival; Futurist Manifesto for string orchestra, commissioned by the Munich Chamber Orchestra. A period as composer-in-association with Music Theatre Wales, resulting in Shirley and Jane, an operatic scena based on the career of Dame Shirley Porter; a Smith Quartet commission, Dances on a Ground (2009); and Dictionary of London, for the NMC Songbook.