"Howard's is a voice of undeniable poise and power"
"at once sensuous and austere"
"a composer who prefers to think in terms of synapses rather than sonata form"
"... (Howard's) work to date – characterised by ... above all, an insight into the human condition – suggests a level of sophistication well beyond her years."
"a force to be reckoned with"
To See The Invisible - Chamber Opera in one act.
An Aldeburgh Festival commission and world premiere / June 2018
"eclectic; avant-garde and spectral … plenty to chew over and to raise hopes for Howard’s future work"
"Pastel-perfect hell … Howard confidently and consistently makes her music run hot and cold, and it’s a discomforting, intriguing listen … ambitious, experimental, and leaving us plenty to ponder."
"The best of the opera comes whenever Howard’s music ventures into new and strange territory, as she explores Silverberg’s unnervingly dislocated world … it gets under the skin – a step into the future in Aldeburgh’s venerable tradition"
"Howard’s menacing use of percussion and grainy-textured instrumental writing, variously monochrome and lush, capture the atmosphere. Her evocative score embraces other composers: a lute song by John Dowland, sung in a brothel scene in which pleasure and pain are played out with clinical horror, and the opening of the trio Soave il Vento, from Mozart’s Così fan Tutte. In Howard’s reworking, it shifts to a noodling, candy-sweet marimba-dominated melody, representing a world of “warmth”. Cacti thrive and a couple indulge themselves in “bagels, cookies, muffins and cupcakes, lemon and poppy seed, toffee and blueberry or double choc-chip”. Try singing that."
"Oddly compelling … Howard’s idiom has a cool confidence and clarity of its own"
"Emily Howard’s imaginative score ensures that this zeitgeist work is entirely her own"
"Silverberg’s concept of a time when any emotion is outlawed was brought to vivid musical life … it has a Kafkaesque spookiness about it and should travel well if taken up elsewhere."
World Premiere of Torus (Concerto for Orchestra) / BBC Proms 2016
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / cond. Vasily Petrenko
"one of this year’s finest new works"
"Visionary … [a] ringing confirmation of Howard's maturing gifts."
"Listening to [Torus], what was immediately apparent was Howard’s easy command of large-scale orchestral writing … genuinely rewarding."
"An accomplished and absorbing new work by a composer who is keen to hear the overall shape of the piece rather than become distracted by surface detail. This is a philosophy I like … Torus uses an extraordinary array of musical techniques to create startling effects and meditative passages."
NMC Debut Disc Emily Howard 'Magnetite' / NMC Recordings D219
RLPO / Andrew Gourlay /Alexandra Dariescu / Elias String Quartet / scapegoat / Lucy Goddard / Simon Whiteley
"Magnetite [is] a sumptuous, powerful piece … an engaging introduction to Howard’s music, expertly played"
"A confident, major orchestral debut … Scientific ideas brilliantly articulated in a score whose shimmering colours and essentially tonal trajectory are easily assimilated"
Mesmerism: Making Music British Composer Award 2012
"In this piece the composer stretches the ability of amateur musicians without over-taxing them: the thoroughly imaginative contemporary sound-world is for once eminently realisable by non-professionals. The harmonic language of the music is lucid and beautiful, sustaining at the heart of the piece a great sense of stillness. This is an original voice."
UK Premiere of Calculus of the Nervous System / BBC Proms 2012
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / cond. Andris Nelsons
"This was a piece that really made you listen, and drew you in, and its 15 minutes seemed to pass in an instant. Whether intentionally or not, the quietness also focused attention onto the noises of the typically restless Proms audience, with moments that were so quietly enrapturing that none of the audience's vast number dared so much as breathe."
"... profoundly atmospheric, where something always seemed about to happen. It started and ended in near silence, except that the real impression was that the music continued for ever ... a fascinating and tantalising piece; one which was superbly rendered by Nelsons and the CBSO."
World Premiere of Calculus of the Nervous System at Wien Modern Festival 2011
ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna / cond. James MacMillan / Wiener Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria
"...Calculus presented an absorbing mix of stealth, suggestion and surprise – its tremulous opening punctuated by silences like a sequence of abortive starts, and its final measures sounding like a sequence of abortive endings, but engineered (which I think is the right word here) with winning confidence and craft. I was impressed."
"A work which because of its incredible memorability will be instantly recognizable on a second hearing."
World Premiere of Solar
London Symphony Orchestra / cond. Nicholas Collon / Barbican Hall, London, UK
"Solar … manages to suggest galactic power on a compact scale and sets a trajectory of inexorable slow movement that took it convincingly in a single revolution to the final bar."
"... compelling sonorities, and high-density harmonies, well constructed and strongly imagined."
"Howard showed herself to be more than just a good orchestrator of blazing images, conjuring up tension and a sense of magnetic pull."
"a sure touch with orchestral textures"
"... the ensuing slow-burn crescendo seemed tragic in its implications, a dense, barbed wall of sound ... Solar seems to despair for mankind while also being inspiring as music."
World Premiere of Zátopek! / New Music 20x12 / London Cultural Olympiad
The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool / The Southbank Centre, London, UK
"A tremendous opera"
"Emily Howard's short opera is, like its subject, almost insanely ambitious."
"Howard's mini-opera Zátopek! seethes with invention"
"As unreservedly entertaining as the man it pays tribute to"
"Zátopek! "highlight of the year ahead"