Richard Barrett was born in Swansea in 1959. He studied composition with Peter Wiegold.
In 1984 he went to Darmstadt Summer Courses to attend the lectures of Brian Ferneyhough and Hans-Joachim Hespos. He has received numerous prizes for his compositional output including:
Kranichsteiner Musikpreis (1986),
Gaudeamusprijs (1989, for the string quartet I open and close)
British Composer Award for chamber music (2003, for the string quartet 13 selfportraits)