Cheryl Frances-Hoad was born in Essex in 1980 and received her musical education at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, and Kings College London. Her music has been described as "like a declaration of faith in the eternal verities of composition” (The Times), with "a voice overflowing not only with ideas, but also with the discipline and artistry necessary to harness them” (The Scotsman).
Chosen to be a featured composer on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Composer of the Week’ (Five under 35, March 2015), her works have garnered many awards, from the BBC Lloyds Bank Composer of the Year award when she was just 15 to more recently The RPS Composition Prize, The Mendelssohn Scholarship, and three Ivor Novello (formally BASCA) British Composer Awards (for Psalm 1 and Stolen Rhythm in 2010, and Scenes from the Wild in 2022).
She has held the posts of Leverhulme Musician in Residence (at the University of Cambridge Psychiatry Department, 2008), Rambert Composer in Residence (2012/13), Opera North/Leeds University Cultural Fellow in Opera Related Arts (2010/12), Visiting Research Fellow in the Creative Arts at Merton College Oxford (2021/2) and Visiting Fellow at Keble College Oxford (2022). Cheryl was also one of the first recipients of the PRS Composer's Fund Awards, in 2016.
Cheryl has released six celebrated CDs of her music, and her works currently feature on 28 other discs. Her recent disc of vocal music, Magic Lantern Tales, has been highly praised: "the longer you listen to this beautifully crafted CD (…) the deeper you fall under its spell” (SWR2 Treffpunkt Klassik, Germany), "Frances-Hoad’s Magic Lantern Tales disorientate and delight in equal measure” (Opera Today). Her 2011 CD of chamber works, The Glory Tree, was selected as "Chamber Music Choice” by BBC Music Magazine.
Recent projects include Your servant, Elizabeth, commissioned by the BBC Proms for the 'Platinum Jubilee' Prom on 22nd July 2022 at the Royal Albert Hall. The work, which paid homage to both Queen Elizabeth II and William Byrd, was picked by Ivan Hewett in The Telegraph as the highlight of the 2022 Proms season: “like all the best “classical music”, it was fresh and surprising, yet rooted in tradition, and gave plenty of hope that an embattled art form has plenty of life in it yet”.
Cheryl was composer-in-residence at Presteigne Festival 2019 and was Associate Composer at Oxford Lieder Festival from 2019-2021: her half-hour song cycle, everything grows extravagantly, written with poet Kate Wakeling was premiered by baritone Marcus Farnsworth and Libby Burgess in 2021 at St. John the Evangelist, Oxford and was chosen as one of the five best classical events of 2021 by The Times.