Daniel Elms (b. 1985) is a composer of humanist, post-minimal music. He uses his music to address social and political inequality, taking inspiration from the ideology of anarchosyndicalism and from the disparate social and economic conditions in and around his hometown, Hull.

Daniel’s music has been performed by members of the London Symphony Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Aurora Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, the Balanescu Quartet, the Valido Quartet, and prominent soloists such as Richard Harwood, Thomas Gould, Peter Gregson, Joby Burgess and Giacomo Bigoni. In 2013, Daniel was awarded the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund’s Emerging Excellence Award and in 2015 he was awarded Performing Right Society Foundation’s New Music Biennial Award 2017.

Daniel’s current work is focused on the social and political isolation of the individual; a reminder of the importance of empathetic discourse between differing ideologies in a time of divisive media and politics. Since late 2015, Daniel has implemented electronic instrumentation as part of a more traditional, acoustic timbre and, currently, he is developing a method of notation for the advanced performance techniques of electric guitar and signal processing. Daniel’s debut album, Soft Machines, features the first of these electro-acoustic compositions, which were written in isolation at the former home of Imogen Holst, courtesy of the Britten-Peers and Holst foundations. The album will be released in late 2017.

After completing an undergraduate degree in music, Daniel studied composition at the Royal College of Music under Joseph Horovitz and took additional study with Kenneth Hesketh, Peter Stark and Carlos Bonell; Daniel continued his study of composition with Kenneth Hesketh privately for another three years. Daniel’s study at the Royal College of Music was supported by a full scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and he was generously supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust. In 2013 Daniel signed to independent music publisher Music Sales Classical.

Photograph of Daniel Elms
Black & White portrait by Nick West