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1953 Born, Brighton


1961 First public performance, playing the hymn Holy Holy Holy in a Grade 2 piano version for school prayers. An unmitigated disaster.


1967 Hears Itchycoo Park by The Small Faces for the first time. A revelation. Hears Eight Songs For A Mad King by Peter Maxwell Davies for the first time. A revelation.


1968 Composes first piece, a very elaborate rip-off of Peter Maxwell Davies, involving a music box.


1968 Cleverly wins school piano competition by playing a piece by Peter Maxwell Davies. The judges have no idea what it’s meant to sound like.


1971 Gives up the cello, with a sigh of relief. Hears Terry Riley’s A Rainbow In Curved Air for the first time. A revelation.


1972 Performs Terry Riley’s Keyboard Studies to a mystified audience in Oxford.


1975-1982 Cooks for Oxford Rowing Crew in the run-up to the Boat Race. Oxford wins seven of the eight races. You could argue that this is a coincidence.


1977 Moves into a squat in Warren Street, London. Wallpapers sitting room with sheet music, an idea taken from Mauricio Kagel’s Ludwig van. Boy George moves in next door.


1978 Steps Notes and Squeaks, a curious introduction to the dance world featuring two old-school ballerinas Maina Gielgud and Svetlana Beriosova, and the excitable Wayne Sleep.


1978-1979 Five Pianos, a band. Short-lived.


1979-1983 The Lost Jockey, a band, a collective, maybe even a massive. Exhilarating, chaotic, infuriating, glorious.


1980 Hears Youssou N’Dour for the first time. Profoundly affected.


1981 Meets the choreographer Ian Spink and gets involved in the strange and beautiful world of the dance company Second Stride.


1983 The Complete A Level Mathematics is published by Heinemann.


1984 Mozart At Palm Springs, an opera. Discovers how difficult it is to write a decent opera.


1984-1987 Man Jumping, a band. Exhilarating, organised, infuriating, glorious.


1987 Weighing The Heart, a definitive Second Stride dance piece.


1988 Meets the choreographer Ashley Page and gets involved in the strange and beautiful world of modern ballet.


1989 Composes the music for the memorial service of the artist Feliks Topolski.


1989 Tiptoes into the world of music for television.


1992 Curates a series of operas for Channel Four.


1994 Badenheim, a definitive Second Stride theatre piece.


1995 Starts work on The Wisdom Of Crocodiles, an art vampire film starring Jude Law, which is eventually released in 1999 to terrible reviews.

First – and probably last - feature film.


1996 Hotel, a definitive Second Stride theatre piece, featuring several future members of The Shout.


1998 The Shouting Fence. First site-specific work. Discovers the joy of the megaphone.


1999-2009 The Shout.

2001 Because I Sing. The strange and beautiful world of London amateur choirs.


2001-2006 The Rufus Norris years.


2005 The Singing River. The beginning of a period of river-based site-specific events.


2005-2010 Associate Artist Royal Opera House.


2007 Curates a voice festival at the Royal Opera House, featuring, amongst others, John Tomlinson, Christian Zehnder, Erica Stucky, Phil Minton. Introduces the Extreme Karaoke Machine, created in collaboration with the composer Dominic Murcott.


2008 Open Port, the closing ceremony of Stavanger European Capital of Culture 2008. The beginning of a period of Norwegian collaborations.


2010 Cantata Profana. Tiptoes into the world of extreme metal. And tiptoes out again.


2012-3 Writes two operas, Imago and Road Rage, in one year – which feels like an achievement – though Handel, Telemann etc. would not have been particularly impressed.


2012 Recipe Journal is published by Toast.


2012-2020 Toast Travels blog.

2012- The Stroke Odysseys years

2013 Foghorn Requiem. A nostalgic celebration. Brass bands, ships' horns and the foghorn of Souter Lighthouse, Sunderland.


2014 Stemmer, Bergen, Norway. The 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution, and an opportunity to consider the uses and abuses of human rights.


2015 Curates a Festival of Dionysus at the Almeida Theatre, London, featuring, amongst others, Cigdem Aslan, Amaraterra and Notes Inégales.

2016- The Voice Project years

2018- The Dorset Bell-Ringing project

2019 Staging Schiele. Tiptoes into the worlds of Kurt Weill and Luciano Berio.

2021 Two operas in a year again, Bloom Britannia and Weather the Storm. Handel and Telemann still not impressed. And a book: Coming and Going, a frisky portrait of Brighton, published by Uniform Books.

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