Lionel Sainsbury began to play the piano at an early age and soon started to compose his own music. Born in Wiltshire, England, in 1958, he studied composition with Patric Standford at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. At the age of 21 he was awarded a Mendelssohn Scholarship, which brought him into contact with composers as diverse as Edmund Rubbra, John McCabe and Henri Dutilleux.

Sainsbury’s music has since been performed worldwide, and broadcast by BBC Radio 3, Radio France, NHK TV/Radio in Japan, and many channels in the US. Amongst artists who have performed his work are the violinists Tasmin Little, Vit Muzik and Rupert Marshall-Luck, pianists Mark Bebbington, Clara Rodriguez and Jack Gibbons, clarinetist Anna Hashimoto and guitarist Craig Ogden.

In 2002 his Violin Concerto was premiered at the Worcester (UK) Three Choirs Festival, with soloist Lorraine McAslan and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Adrian Lucas. Lorraine McAslan subsequently recorded the concerto with the BBC Concert Orchestra under Barry Wordsworth (Dutton CDLX 7245).

The premiere recording of Sainsbury’s Cello Concerto followed in 2012 (Dutton CDLX 7284), performed by Raphael Wallfisch, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Martin Yates.

Also available, on Navona Records, are two albums of Lionel Sainsbury’s piano music, SUNLIGHT & STORMS (NV5951) and ANDALUSIAN FANTASY (NV5999), performed by the composer.



Release Date: February 9, 2018
Catalog Number: NV6141
21st Century
Navona Records is proud to present PRISMA, a compilation featuring four contemporary composers from the United States and England including Lionel Sainsbury, Clive Muncaster, Patricia Julien, and J. A. Kawarsky. PRISMA spans the spectrum of unique styles of composition, from the grandiose and triumphant to the fragile and tender. This compilation captures a journey through colorful orchestral elements in a singular listening experience that builds into a thrilling sound.

Andalusian Fantasy

Release Date: May 1, 2015
Catalog Number: NV5999
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
The Spanish tradition of flamenco music, by way of Paco Peña and Paco de Lucia, has significantly influenced the classical music world. Now composer and pianist Lionel Sainsbury explores the fiery passion and harmonic tension of flamenco on his latest Navona Records release ANDALUSIAN FANTASY.

Sunlight & Storms

Release Date: May 1, 2014
Catalog Number: NV5951
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
SUNLIGHT AND STORMS, composer and pianist Lionel Sainsbury's debut solo release on Navona Records, illustrates emotions from the peaceful to the tempestuous, and many more besides. A retrospective of the composer's piano music, spanning almost 20 years of his career, the album ranges from tangos to toccatas, character pieces to ostinatos.


Release Date: July 1, 2012
Catalog Number: NV5874
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
Wind Ensemble
Who says eclecticism isn't a wonderful thing? Certainly not us at Navona Records. SLICES is a carefully handpicked selection of new chamber works by contemporary composers designed to showcase the diversity of modern music-making, and these pieces by Sundin, Bakker, Sainsbury, Rusnak, Beeler, and Burns cut right through the oft-repeated misconception that classical music is dead on the vine.