Adam Pounds Biography
Adam Pounds was born in London in . As a student he studied at the London College of Music where his principal subjects were composition, classical guitar, oboe and conducting. As his chief interest was composing he went on to receive composition lessons from Sir Lennox Berkeley as a private student. He later continued his studies at Goldsmith's College, London where he achieved a BMus. (Hon) and later an M. Ed. from Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He founded the Nelson Orchestra in 1981 in Waltham Forest and after moving to Cambridge he formed the Academy of Great St. Mary's and was also appointed conductor of the Stapleford Choral Society. His other interests include politics and fell-walking.
After an early success with his Sinfonietta Pounds composed his first major orchestral piece the Gaelic Triptych in 1983. The work is in three movements and was inspired by a holiday in the Scottish Highlands. The second movement (Corgarff Castle) evokes a misty picture of a lonely and neglected garrison. The finale, subtitled Drumossie Moor is a musical tribute to the Scots who were butchered in the battle of Culloden. The movement ends fittingly with an orchestration of an ancient Scots bagpipe tune. The Festival Overture was a response to a commission from Waltham Forest and the Greater London Arts Council in 1987. This one movement work is an exciting and rhythmic piece which has dynamic brass and percussion parts. Like many of his other works, the Northern Picture is programmatic. The main influence on this piece was the stone circle at Castlerigg. The stone circle represented a meeting place for festivals and dancing as well as worship and the music is a collage of dance, mysticism and combat. An earlier work, Life Cycle, was composed for dance and shares the same idea of programme although in this case it is far more abstract, dwelling on life's journey with the fullness of life being represented by a strong minimalist section.
As well as orchestral music, Pounds has also composed a number of chamber works that include sonatas for violin and for flute, but it was not until the composition of the Second String Quartet that the music returned to a programmatic form. This one-movement work, composed in 2003, contrasts themes of a war-like nature with those of reason and mediation. The CD launch concert for this piece took place in May 2005 coupled with works by Shostakovich and Samuel Barber. Other pieces have been inspired by literature such as the Shakespeare sonnets for voice, flute and piano. His third string quartet was completed in 2022.
Pounds has also composed extensively for the voice. This includes a number of carols, an opera Syn based on the novel by Rusell Thorndyke and the London Cantata using the words of Blake, Shelley and others.
In April 2021, Pounds completed his Third Symphony and this is due to be recorded by the Sinfonia of London, conducted by John Wilson for Chandos Records in November 2022.