Joby Talbot was born in Wimbledon in 1971. He studied composition privately with Brian Elias and at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College before completing a Master of Music (Composition) at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Simon Bainbridge.
Talbot’s diverse output has included a trumpet concerto for Alison Balsom and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Desolation Wilderness, 2006); a 60-minute a cappella choral journey along the Camino de Santiago for Nigel Short’s Tenebrae (Path of Miracles, 2005); arrangements of songs by Detroit rock duo The White Stripes alongside existing works for Wayne McGregor’s Chroma (The Royal Ballet, 2006); and, as a co-production between The Royal Ballet and National Ballet of Canada, Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2011), the first full-length narrative ballet score to be commissioned by The Royal Ballet in 20 years. A second such collaboration with Wheeldon and the same two companies culminated in the 2014 premiere of The Winter's Tale, adapted from Shakespeare's play.
Talbot has also written the madrigal The Wishing Tree (The King’s Singers, 2002), the orchestral Sneaker Wave (BBC National Orchestra of Wales, 2004) and an arrangement of Purcell’s Chacony in G minor for the BBC Proms (BBC Symphony Orchestra, 2011). Worlds, Stars, Systems, Infinity was commissioned in 2012 for the Philharmonia Orchestra’s interactive digital installation, Universe of Sound, as an addition to Holst’s The Planets. Tide Harmonic (2009), a work for large ensemble, began life as the score for Eau by choreographer Carolyn Carlson and CCN Roubaix. Other significant works written or adapted for dance include Fool’s Paradise (Christopher Wheeldon and Morphoses, 2007), an arrangement of Talbot’s 2002 silent film score The Dying Swan; Genus (Paris Opera Ballet, 2007); Entity (Wayne McGregor and Random Dance, 2008); and Chamber Symphony for Chamber by choreographer Medhi Walerski (Residentie Orkest/Nederlands Dans Theater and Norwegian Opera and Ballet, 2012).
Talbot has considerable experience writing for the screen, including BBC Two’s comedy series The League of Gentlemen and feature films The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Son of Rambow (2007), Franklyn (2008) and Closed Circuit (2013). For Hunky Dory (2011), he developed orchestral arrangements of pop songs with the film's young musicians, alongside writing the largely electronic score.
In 2013, Talbot premiered Genus Quartet with the Calder Quartet, Meniscus with the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, and a new version of Tide Harmonic for Christopher Wheeldon and Pacific Northwest Ballet, as well as seeing international revivals of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chamber, Chroma, Path of Miracles and Worlds, Stars, Systems, Infinity. Following the premiere of The Winter's Tale in April 2014, Talbot began work on the new one-act piece Everest for Dallas Opera, to premiere in 2015.