Michael Nyman

© Sheila Rock


Michael Nyman is one of the most significant composers of our time. Internationally he is recognized primarily as a composer for film, his works including the score for Jane Campions Oscar-winning film The Piano, as well as music for a number of Peter Greenaway films such as The Cook, the Thief, his Wife & her Lover and The Draughtsman's Contract.

As a music journalist, in 1968 Nyman coined the term "Minimal Music" and in the 1970's, he briefly joined the Steve Reich Ensemble. Collaborations followed with Brian Eno and the legendary Scratch Orchestra, until Nyman finally formed his own ensemble, the Michael Nyman Band. 

In addition to numerous soundtracks for films by Volker Schlöndorff (Der Unhold), Michael Winterbottom (among others Wonderland), Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), Neil Jordan (The End of the Affair) and Patrice Leconte (The Hairdresser's Husband, Monsieur Hire), Nyman's oeuvre includes compositions for opera and concert, for dance and music theater, art videos, performances and installations. These have been immensely successful, performed worldwide by orchestras, chamber ensembles, choirs, soloists and the Michael Nyman Band.


Here you can browse a selection of the most recent Michael Nyman publications.
A complete compilation can be found on the Michael Nyman homepage.

tl_files/annette_gentz/kuenstler/michaelnyman/8-lust-songs-i-sonetti-lussuriosi-.jpg     tl_files/annette_gentz/kuenstler/michaelnyman/the-draughtsmans-contract.jpg

Michael Nyman: Facing Goya
An Opera in 4 Acts
Libretto: Victoria Hardie
With Winnie Böwe, Marie Angel, Hilary Summers, Harry Niccol and Omar Ebrahim
Michael Nyman: Collections
Film, Music, Photography, 2010

Michael Nyman: Songs, 2009

Michael Nyman: Soundtracks, 2009

Michael Nyman: Operas, 2009

Vertov Sounds, 2009

Michael Nyman & Motion Trio:
Accoustic Accordions,

Arrangements: Janusz Wojtarowicz

Michael Nyman & David McAlmont:
The Glare, 2009
The Michael Nyman Band
Lyrics: David McAlmont

The Piano Concerto, 2008
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Solo piano: Kathryn Stott

8 Lust Songs: I Sonetti Lussuriosi, 2008
The Michael Nyman Band
Singing: Marie Angel

Mozart 252, 2008
The Michael Nyman Band

Love Counts. An Opera in two Acts, 2007

The Wyngates Band: Nyman Brass, 2006

Six Celan Songs -
The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi, 2006
Texts: Paul Celan/ Mary Kelly
Singing: Hilary Summers/ Sarah Leonard

Acts of Beauty - Exit No Exit, 2006
Conducting: Carlo Boccadoro
Ensemble: Sentieri Selvaggi
With Cristina Zavalloni

Man and Boy: Dada.
An Opera in two Acts, 2005
Conduction: Paul McGrath
Libretto: Michael Hastings
With John Graham, William Sheldon,
Vivian Tierney

Nyman/ Greenaway Revisited, 2005
The Michael Nyman Band

The Piano Sings, 2005
Production: Michael Nyman

The Libertine, 2005
The Michael Nyman Band
Soundtrack album

The Draughtsman’s Contract, 2005
The Michael Nyman Band

Love Counts, 2005
Conduction: Paul McGrath
Singing: Helen Williams


The Cook, the Thief,
His Wife and Her Lover, 1989
Directed by Peter Greenaway

Man on Wire, 2009
Directed by James Marsh
Academy Award, Oscar
European Film Award
Grand Price of the Jury, Sundance

The Piano, 1993
Directed by Jane Campion
Palme d'Or, Cannes
César Nomination for Best Film Music, BAFTA-Awards
Nomination for Golden Globe and Academy Award, Oscar

Gattaca, 1999
Directed by Andrew Niccol,
Nomination for Best Film Music, Golden Globe

Wonderland, 1999
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Nomination for BAFTA Award and Palme d'Or, Cannes

The Ogre, 1996
Conducted by Volker Schlöndorff
Nomination for Golden Lion, Venice

Ravenous, 1999
Directed by Antonia Bird
Score by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman

The Draughtsman's Contract, 1982
Directed by Peter Greenaway

The End of the Affair, 1999
Directed by Neil Jordan
Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music
Nomination for Golden Globe and BAFTA Award

The Hairdresser's Husband, 1990
Directed by Patrice Leconte
Nomination for BAFTA Award and César

Never Forever, 2007
Directed by Gina Kim

Jestem, 2005
Directed by Dorota Kedzierzawaska

The Libertine, 2004
Directed by Laurence Dunmore

Nathalie, 2003
Directed by Anne Fontaine

The Actors, 2003
Directed by Conor McPherson

9 Meses, 9 Días, 2009
Directed by Oscar Ramíres

24 Hours in the Life of a Woman, 2002
Directed by Laurent Bouhnik

The Claim
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Nomination for Golden Bear, Berlinale 2001

An Organization of Dreams, 2009
Directed by Ken McMullen

Nabbies Love, 1999
Directed by Yuji Nakae

Carrington, 1995
Directed by Christopher Hampton

A Zed & Two Noughts, 1985
Directed by Peter Greenaway

Enemy Zero, 1996
Directed by Kenji Eno

À la folie, 1994
Directed by Diane Kurys

Mesmer, 1994
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Prospero's Books, 1991
Directed by Peter Greenaway
Nomination for Golden Lion, Venice

Monsieur Hire, 1989
Directed by Patrice Leconte

Drowning by Numbers, 1988
Directed by Peter Greenaway

The Falls, 1980
Directed by Peter Greenaway

Vertical Features Remake, 1978
Directed by Peter Greenaway


Sparkie: Cage and Beyond – Revisiting „Pretty Talk for George Brecht“, 1978/ 2009
Concert performance with Alva Noto
Commissioned by MaerzMusik - Festival für aktuelle Musik Berlin

Love Counts, 2005
Libretto: Michael Hastings
Commissioned by Staatstheaters Karlsruhe

Man and Boy: DaDa, 2003
Libretto: Michael Hastings
Commissioned by Staatsheaters Karlsruhe 

Facing Goya, 2000
Libretto: Victoria Hardie
World premiere at Auditorio de Galicia,
Santiago de Compostella
Noises, Sounds and Sweet Airs, 1994
Texts by William Shakespeare
World premiere at Hérouville-Saint-Clair, Calvados

Letters, Riddles and Writs, 1991
Libretto: Jeremy Newsom and Pat Gavin
TV-Premiere in 1991, Great Britain

The Man Who Mistook His Wife
For A Hat, 1986
Libretto: Christopher Rawlence
World premiere at the ICA London
Adapted from the case study by Oliver Sacks


Concerto For Flute And Strings, 2010
The Musicologist Scores, 2009
Concert with citations from G.F. Handel for large ensemble, commissioned by BBC Proms, London

A New Pavan
For These Sad Distracted Times, 2009
Concert for cello and orchestra

Something Connected With Energy, 2008
Concert commissioned by Festival Della Scienza 2008 in Genua

50.000 Pairs Of Feet Can’t Be Wrong, 2007
Concert for large ensemble on the occasion of the opening of the Great North Run Marathon, commissioned by the Great North Run Cultural Programme

The Piano Concerto No.2, 2007
Concert for piano and large ensemble

The Violin Concerto No.2, 2007
Concert for piano and large ensemble

GDM, 2006
Marimba-concert commissioned by Tivoli Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and De Doelen

Melody Waves, 2005
Concert for Chinese orchestra, commissioned by Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Barbican Centre London, The Sage Gateshead and the British Council Singapore

Three Ways of Describing Rain:
Sawan, Rang, Dhyan, 2003
For the Indian singers Rajan and Sajan Misra and large ensemble

The Violin Concerto, 2003
For Gidon Kremer, commissioned by Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival

Compiling the Colours, 2003
With the Indian mandolin-master U. Shrinivas, for large ensemble and solo mandolin

Dance of the Engines, 2002
Concert for orchestra with pre-recorded engine sounds, commissioned by DaimlerChrysler AG,
conducted by Kent Nagano
Deutsches Sinfonieorchester Berlin World premiere at the old DaimlerChrysler factory Berlin

Concerto for Saxophone Quartet
and Orchestra, 2001

Strong On Oaks,
Strong On The Causes Of Oaks, 1997
Concert suite commissioned by English Sinfonia

Double Concerto For Saxophone, Cello And Orchestra, 1997
Double concert for Saxophone and Cello, for John Harle and Julian Lloyd Webber
world premiere conducted by James Judd at the Royal Festival Hall, London

AET (After Extra Time), 1996
Concert for large ensemble, on the occasion of the European Champions 1996
commissoned by South Bank London

Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings, 1995
For Elisabeth Chojnacka

Concerto for Trombone, 1995
Concert for orchestra and trombone, written for Christian Lindberg, commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra

MGV (Musique à Grande Vitesse), 1993
Concert for orchestra, commissioned by the Festival de Lille on the occasion of the inauguration of the TGV Service Paris - Lille

The Piano Concerto, 1993
Commissioned by the Festival de Lille, for Kathryn Stott and the Orchestre National de Lille, version for 2 pianos for Katia and Marielle Labèque

For John Cage, 1992
For band/ brass ensemble, commissioned by London Brass

The Upside-Down Violin, 1992
For the Michael Nyman Band and Orquesta Andaluzí de Tetouan, commissioned by Expo'92, Seville

The Final Score, 1992
A football-homage for large ensemble

Where The Bee Dances, 1991
Concert for soprano saxophone, for John Harle, commissioned by Bournemouth Sinfonietta


DGV: Danse à grande vitesse, 2006 und 2010 
Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and the Royal Ballet, for Covent Garden London

Electra Perpetrator, 2008
Commissioned by ROES Dance Company

Exit, No Exit, 2005
Commissioned and choreographed by Shobana Jeyasingh for the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company

Flicker, 2004
Commissioned and choreographed by Shobana Jeyasingh for the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, world premiere at the Royal Northern College of Music Manchester

Strange Attractors, 1999
Choreographed by Stephen Petronio, Set Design by Anish Kapoor, world premiere at Yurba Buena Center fort the Arts, San Francisco 

Miniatures, 1988
Solo piece for The Place Theatre, London Choreographed by Shobana Jeyasingh

Configurations, 1989
Piece for 3 - 4 dancers, choreographed by Shobana Jeyasingh, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

The Fall of Icarus, 1989
Choreographed by Frédéric Flammand for Plan K, for a video installation by Fabrizio Plessi, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels

Touch the Earth, 1987
For the Rosemary Butcher Dance Company, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London

And Do They Do, 1986
Commissioned by Siobhan Davies for the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, world premiere at the Sadler's Wells Theatre, London

Childs Play (Portraits in Reflection), 1985
Choreographed by Lucinda Childs and the Lucinda Childs Dance Company

Basic Black, 1984
Choreography by Farrell Dyde for the Houston Ballet

The Princess of Milan, 1991
With texts by William Shakespeare, choreographed by Karine Saporta for the Avignon Festival

Yamamoto Perpetuo, 1993
Composition for a fashion show by the designer Johji Yamamoto, solo violin: Alexander Balanescu


fff, 2010 
Score for a video installation by Kutlug Ataman, Whitechapel Gallery London

Surrounded in Tears, 2004 
Sound installation by Oswaldo Macià, Michael Nyman and Jasper Morrison, commissioned by the London Biennial and Tate Liverpool 

The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi, 2002 
String quartet for a text installation by Mary Kelly, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles

The Commissar Vanishes, 1999 
Composition for a video installation by Chris Kondek, commissioned by the Barbican Centre London, Warwick Arts Centre


Body Parts Songs, 2010
For tenor and piano, with texts by Ernst Jandl, Kurt Schwitters, Tadeusz Rózewicz, Anthony Howell, inter alia
To be premiered

I Sonetti Lussuriosi, 2007 
Settings of the erotic sonnets by Pietro Aretino (16th century) for ensemble and soprano, commissioned by Venice Biennial

A Handshake in the dark, 2007 
Settings of texts by the Iraqi poet Jamal Jumá, for choir and orchestra/ ensemble, commissioned by the BBC

I was a total virgin, 2006 
Written by Hanif Kureishi and Michael Nyman, commissioned by London Sinfonietta for FuseLeeds06

A Child’s View of Colour, 2003 
For children choir, based on a text by Walter Benjamin, commissioned by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City 

Mosè, 2001 
Settings of texts by Michelangelo Buonarotti, for choir and orchestra/ ensemble

Cycle of Disquietude (Coisas, Vozes, Lettras), 1998 
12 songs based on texts by Fernando Pessoa, commissioned by 100 Days Festival Lisbon

Self Laudatory Hymn of Inanna and HerOmnipotence, 1992 and 1998 
Based on S.N. Kramer’s translation of a Sumerian Hymn, for the counter tenor James Bowman and large Ensemble

Six Celan Songs, 1990 and 2009
Settings of 6 poems by Paul Celan for ensemble and contralto, written for Ute Lemper, performed again by Hilary Summers at the Jewish Museum Berlin



Composed and directed by Michael Nyman

Taking poetry from the First World War as his inspiration, Nyman has crafted a song cycle to film, presented in two groups of four songs, each preceded by several instrumental movements. The texts were all written by poets who - with the exception of the English artist-poet, David Bomberg - all lost their lives during the First World War.

The starting point for the music is the title of a series of poems by French writer, Gaston de Ruyter - 'Chansons vielles sur d'autre airs' ('Old songs to other tunes'). The 'chansons vielles' are the poems by English, French, German and Hungarian poets (mostly sung in their original languages) and the 'autres airs' are by English, French, German, Austro-Hungarian, Polish and Italian composers of the 17th and 19th centuries.

The film element, edited by Max Pugh, has been designed around footage sourced from French, German and American First World War film archives and the chosen excerpts deliberately focus on material that previous documenters of the First World War have ignored. There is no voice-over so as to allow the potency of the images in combination with the music to take centre stage.

“I aim to reflect the war from a different perspective” says Nyman. “I've paired a German poem with English music and a French poem with German music, for example, as a way of unpicking nationalism and national identity.”

War Work was commissioned in 2014 by the War on Screen International Film Festival; L'Arsenal de Metz; La Cité de la Musique, Paris; Kölner Philharmonie and the Palace of Arts, Budapest to commemorate the First World War centenary.