Composer and conductor, Rui Penha was born in Porto, in 1981. He received his first musical education at the age of six, studying piano and harpsichord. In 2006, he graduated in Music Education and Composition from the University of Aveiro, where he studied under Sara Carvalho and João Pedro Oliveira. He has also studied with Emmanuel Nunes, Pedro Amaral, Brian Ferneyhough, Helmut Lachenmann, Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding, Flo Menezes and Mary Finsterer, among others, participating actively in several Workshops and Master Classes. In 2007, he began his doctoral research under João Pedro Oliveira, with a scholarship from the University of Aveiro.
Rui studied conducting with Ralph Allwood, Mike Brewer, Péter Erdei and Jean-Sébastien Béreau, among others. He was the conductor of the contemporary ensemble Momentum Ensemble, with whom he premièred and recorded works of some of Portugal’s foremost composers. As a performer, he is now mainly an interpreter of live electroacoustic music, both as a soloist and in chamber music.
Rui was awarded some prizes, including the 1st prize in the Prémio Nacional de Composição Jorge Peixinho, in 2003, and an honorable mention in the Concurso de Composição Música Viva, in 2004. He was selected for the Workshop Orquestra Gulbenkian para Jovens Compositores Portugueses, in 2004 and 2005, and for the Young Composers’ Meeting 2007, in the Netherlands.
Rui has composed music for cinema, institutional television, radio and interactive installations. He has been invited as a speaker in several conferences and as active participant in some international symposiums, being also a programmer of musical software. He was awarded a mention for the whole of the pedagogical work in the Lomus 2008 – International Music Software Contest.
His works have been played in several countries, by some foremost groups, as the Arditti Quartet, Orquestra Gulbenkian and Orkest ‘de ereprijs’, and soloists, as Pedro Carneiro and Adam Wodnicki, in some important festivals, as Música Viva (Lisbon), Archipel (Geneve) and Musincanto (Turin). Some of his works have been published, both in scores and CDs.
He teaches at the Department of Communication and Art of the University of Aveiro and he is also a consultant of the Education Service at Casa da Música (Porto).