Born in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I've lived in the U.K. since 1991. I obtained my Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sussex, and my doctorate in composition at the University of York. The majority of my work deals directly with musicians performing both music and theatre. Some of this forms a very small portion of the performance (for example, choreographed page turns) or a fundamental portion of the performance (such as where the music is the least important element, with the focus on the various movements of the musicians).

Some performances include:
Ev’ry evening, Ev’ry day (LCO/nu:nord)
k. 581 (but not quite his way) (Heather Roche)
There, I’ve said it, I’ve put my cards on the table. (London Sinfonietta commission)
Floors are Flowers, Take a Few (EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble, Tectonics Festival)
And Yet Something Shines, Something Sings in that Silence (the Quatuor Bozzini, hcmf//)
 Abroad to beg your bacon [live version] (House of Bedlam, broadcast on BBC3’s Hear and Now)/ With wholesome hunger plenty [studio version] (House of Bedlam)
And Yet Something Shines, Something Sings in that Silence  (The Royal Norwegian Navy Band, Borealis Festival)

Another of my major preoccupations lies in open-form scores. In 1932, the American photographer Edward Weston wrote that photography "is not all seeing in the sense that the eye sees…Our vision is in a constant state of flux, while the camera captures and fixes forever a single, isolated, condition of the moment." As in photography, most concert music is also an attempt to define a certain time (in music it is the length of the piece of music). This certain length of time will be very similar each time it is experienced in most music. I am interested in trying to allow again for a possibility where time is not fixed, and each time a piece is experienced, the music has the chance to be different. The other separate reason that I am interested in open-form scores is that I would like, without use of traditional jazz-style improvisation, to allow for the performer's own individuality to emerge through my provocations.

The visual aspect of a completed score is fascinating, especially simple but elegant staves which are, in fact, stripes! These stripes are æsthetically pleasing and add to the joy of composition.

press reviews

"The second [was] a piece of music composed by Amber Priestley under the Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM). This music, as the composer described it as 'disjointed', was embarrassing to listen to." - Sue Young, Anchorage Way, Whitby Gazette

"Amber Priestley's installation, 'That I Overlooked Before', invited visitors to interfere with a room full of tape recorders playing a snatch of a jazz vocal refrain, creating a satisfyingly analogue, tactile and genuinely interactive experience as the room's sonics degenerated from clarity to cacophony over the course of an afternoon." - Daniel Spicer, The Wire