British composer, now resident in the USA, of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal, and piano works that have been performed throughout the world. Prof. Ferneyhough received his formal training at the Birmingham Conservatoire from 1961–63 and studied composition with Sir Lennox Berkeley at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1966–67. He then studied composition privately with Ton de Leeuw in Amsterdam in 1968–69 and with Klaus Huber at the Musik-Akademie der Stadt Basel from 1969–71.
Among his honours are the Mendelssohn Scholarship (1968), three prizes in the competition of the Internationale Gaudeamus Muziekweek in Amsterdam (1968–70), an honourable mention in the competition of the section in Italy of ISCM (1972), and a special prize from ISCM for the best work submitted in all categories (1974). He has also received a bursary from the Experimentalstudio des SWR in Freiburg im Breisgau (1974–75), an award from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (1976–77) and the Koussevitzky International Critics Award (1978, for the recording of Transit on Decca Records). He was given the title Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France in 1984, was named an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 1990 and served as a fellow of the Birmingham Conservatoire in 1995 and of the Royal Academy of Music in 1998. In addition, he received the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Chamber-Scale Composition (1995, for On Stellar Magnitudes), was elected to the Akademie der Künste in Berlin
He has lived in the USA since 1987. His publisher is Edition Peters.