Composer. Arranger. Music Director. Sound Sculptor.

Audrey's credits include Coldplay, Muse, Dave Matthews, Foo Fighters and The Smashing Pumpkins. She has contributed arrangements to countless albums alongside her own orchestra. Many of her arrangements have featured on Grammy award–winning recordings.

Audrey Riley recalls the genesis of her career in composition:

"I have been playing ‘cello with bands, and making arrangements for bands for over 30 years. My brother Richard has always been a prolific songwriter. Sometimes he’d ask me to play with him, or I could hear a part for my cello in his work and I'd ask him if I could play.

My first arrangement was for Richard, in my first year at Guildhall School of Music. I could hear parts for a string quartet. Just for fun, I worked out the lines on ‘cello and wrote them out into a score. I had to try to play all four parts at once on the piano, along to his tape, to see whether they’d work. We never did record it.

I expected to play in an orchestra for a living, but it didn’t quite work out like that. While waiting for an orchestra job to arrive, I started playing with [singer-songwriter] Virginia Astley. From there, I started doing sessions on ‘cello for bands.

There was a sudden moment when I realised that playing with bands was a liberation. Here was a place where creativity was welcome. This was the early 1980’s. Mad, reckless, independent music was being made with no eye at all to its commercial viability.

My first proper (paid) session was for The Smiths: the Troy Tate version of Pretty Girls Make Graves. Along with recording and playing for Virginia Astley, who was supported by Geoff Travis and Rough Trade, I would play for bands like Test Department and Coil. Richard had learnt to use a Portastudio. Together with the bass player Billy McGee, nights were spent disregarding any difference between the classical training we’d had at Guildhall, and working out how far you could push a Portastudio.

Richard and Billy were very good at it. I got more into soundscapes and into finding what would happen if you turned the cassette over in the Portastudio and made it play backwards. This was when I began creating my own naïve string-based instrumental pieces."

Work as a composer

Birdy gig, Somerset House, London, 2017.

Audrey has arranged and conducted strings, on a number of albums, with Birdy, an English singer–songwriter and musician. These include tracks on her debut studio album, Birdy (2011) and her third album Beautiful Lies (2016). They often work together at RAK Studios, London.


Audrey has led orchestras on four albums for Muse including The Resistance (2009) and Drones (2015).

Pictured below, Audrey in the studio with Muse, during the recording of The Resistance the bands fifth studio album.

Stills from The making of The Resistance, by Muse and Tom Kirk

See Audrey at work on the track United States of Eurasia and filmed by the band during recording – MUSE on Instagram.


Performing 'cello on the Coldplay's third studio album X&Y Audrey also arranged strings and was MD on the tracks What If, X&Y, Talk and Low.

Muse: Absolution

Absolution (2003) is the third studio album by the band Muse. Audrey composed the string arrangements for the album.

Below are stills taken from the documentary The Making of Absolution by Tom Kirk and Rich Costey.

Audrey also features in the Making of Drones. Released 2015, Drones is the seventh studio album by Muse.

Foo Fighters

Audrey was arranger and music director for the Foo Fighters Come Alive, Erase Replace, Statues, Home and The Pretender tracks on the bands 2007 album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.

Piet Goddaer

Piet Goddaer aka Ozark Henry is Belguims most famous pop star and an old friend of Audrey's. She has worked with him for years, on all his albums. These photos were from a live performance in Maasmechelen, 2016. Riley and Goddaer collaborated to write a piece called Sealand which they then performed.

Dave Matthews

Audrey was arranger and conductor on Dave Matthews 2003 album Some Devil.

The 3rd Letter

Audrey Riley co–composed the film score for The Third Letter, a short film from 2010 by Grzegorz Jonkajtys.


Audrey Riley contributed to the film score for Niles Heckman's Auroras.


Audrey Riley composed the film score for Thomas Cheater's Krokodil.

Smashing Pumpkins

Audrey Riley arranged and conducted strings for Tonight, Tonight on the Smashing Pumpkins acclaimed Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.