Colin Riley



Colin Riley's work draws on a range of elements including improvisation, new technologies, song-writing and large-scale classical form. His work is impossible to categorize, embodying a genuine integration of stylistic approaches. As an established, but ever-questioning figure within the contemporary music scene over the last 20 years he has cut an independent path through many layers of trends and styles.

He is currently writing a new double ‘cello concerto for Gabriella Swallow and Guy Johnston with the Manchester Camerata. Other current commissions include works for flautist Carla Rees, clarinetist Gareth Davis, Harpist Helen Breshand, and pianist Matthew Schellhorn.

As well as being Senior Lecturer at Brunel University, he is also a committed advocate of the emerging and up and coming in the new music scene and has been a mentor for the Making Music’s Adopt A Composer Scheme for the last thirteen years. He also writes a regular blog about composing called Riley Notes.

‘Beautiful, clever and direct’ Classical Music Magazine

‘Tantalising new territory’ The Times

Research area(s)

  • Improvisation within composition
  • Technology within composition
  • Songwriting / vocal setting
  • Integration of stylistic approaches in composition
  • Collaborative projects
  • Composing for children
Composition /electronic music /song-writing /improvisation /collaboration



Teaching and leading on:

MU1604 Musicianship

MU2606 Composition II

MU2612 Professional Development

MU3000 Music Special Project

PhD supervisions and internal and external Viva examining

Selected Publications


Riley, CJ.   (2013)  Hanging In The Balance

Riley, CJ.   (2012)  Here. Album.

Riley, C.   (2009)  Skin and wire

Riley, C.   (2008)  The big sound symphony

Riley, C.   (2008)  Fold

Page last updated: Tuesday 29 November 2016