Chamber Music // Kemal Yusuf

Extracts from "Cain" // Kemal Yusuf

Composed for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival  2016.

"One of the U.K's brightest young composers."

Anita Awbi - M-Magazine


Since the age of seven, composer Kemal Yusuf has been constructing sounds on whatever instruments lay to hand. Initially self-taught, he progressed to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Simon Bainbridge. He gravitated towards the natural drama and theatre within music.

He was then closely mentored by the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who became one of his biggest sonic inspirations.

Kemal’s unique ear and non-rigid approach to genre has seen him work successfully in musical theatre, jazz, filmscores, large-scale orchestral works, TikTok mashups, Instagram live improvisations, an album of chamber music, and a series of piano improvisations titled 'The Key Crack Chronicles'.

His varied and unpredictable approach has resulted in an output of over 100 works. The most recent is his 17 minute string quartet titled Oyun. This was described by Planet Hugill as ‘A major Coup…a composer who possesses a unique ear’.

Kemal received his first large-scale commission in 2016 from the Norfolk and Norwich Festival: Cain, a 30-minute dramatic cantata. This was performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the NNF Chorus and soloists Jeni Bern, Christopher Diffey and Alexander Baker, conducted by David Parry.

His setting of Psalm 91 has been performed by choirs around the country. The BBC Singers gave a live broadcast in a concert curated by Judith Weir.

Other commissions include works for the BBC Singers, The Cheltenham International Music Festival, the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, The Carducci Quartet, The Fidelio Trio and for film Directors Tim Bernard and Nayomi Roshini. Kemal has been a judge for The Ivors and a consultant for PRSF.

He teaches at the Royal Academy of Music.

‘His music is masterly and compelling’ - Eastern Daily Press.


Kemal has been commissioned, as part of ORA Singer’s Emergency Composers’ Fund, to write A reflection on Cildo Meireles’ Babel2001.

"A composer who possesses a unique ear....his music is masterly and compelling". 

Planet Hugill

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