Dr Toby Young

Key details:

Composition | Research
Professorial Staff (Composition); Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Research)
Toby Young


Dr Toby Young is Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the Guildhall School, currently working primarily on ‘Transforming the operatic voice’. This practice-based project investigates the relationship between singing styles in popular music and opera, and brings performers from the opera company McCaldin Arts to collaborate innovatively in fusing popular and operatic vocal styles and widen the appeal of opera to a diversified demographic.

Toby’s broader research draws on popular musicology, composition, philosophy, and cultural sociology to examine the blurred space between classical and popular music. Before coming to Guildhall, Toby was the Gianturco Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College, Oxford, running a project focusing on electronic dance music and its ability to mediate complex social, musical, and aesthetic spaces. He also regularly engages in public talks and lectures, including a TEDx talk, a series of radio programmes on ‘Artistic knowledge’ (Resonance FM), and talks on the creative process and music industry for Saïd Business School.

As a composer and producer, Toby’s music explores the boundaries between popular and classical music, with influences ranging from plainchant to electronic dance music. After winning the Guardian/BBC Proms Young Composer of the Year (2006; 2008) and International ABRSM Composition Competition (2009), Toby’s music has been performed by ensembles and orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Rambert Dance Company, Academy of Ancient Music, Fretwork, London Mozart Players, Britten Sinfonia, and CHROMA. He also works extensively in theatre and television, and has written music for Punchdrunk Theatre and shows for Sky/HBO.

Toby regularly collaborates with pop and jazz artists including the Rolling Stones, Duran Duran, Chase & Status, Snow Ghosts, MOKO, and Jacob Banks. He also written string, choral, and orchestral arrangements for the Rolling Stones, Ellie Goulding, The King's Singers, Tame Impala, renowned Tamil songwriter Ilayaraja, and the London Symphony Orchestra. As a producer he has worked with Mark Lettieri (Snarky Puppy), Karl Jenkins, Cassidy Janson (Beautiful - The Carole King Musical), the Philharmonia Orchestra, Opera North, Rambert Dance Company, and the West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra.

Toby is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a trustee of the Albert Schweitzer Foundation.