Influences on the music of Rhian Samuel include her rich Welsh literary and musical heritage, the landscape of her present home in mid-Wales and her long sojourn in the USA. She is interested in all facets of classical music, particularly early music and American music of all kinds; in her youth she played the oboe in orchestras and the viol and wind instruments in early music groups. She identifies with her female colleagues in a profession still dominated by males, seeing her position, somewhat outside the male tradition, as an exciting one with many challenges and opportunities.

Rhian's orchestral works have been premiered by BBCNOW, the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia 21, the Brunel Ensemble, the BT Scottish Ensemble, Sinfonia Adesso and others. Vocal music is also an important part of Rhian's output; she has written works for many renowned solo singers and accompanists. Throughout her career she has sung in and conducted choirs and written music for them, including her own choirs at Reading University and City University, London, UK. Many years ago she sang (in the Washington University Madrigal  Singers) in the White House for President JohnsonOther professional and amateur choirs for whom she has written include the New College (Oxford) Choir and its directors, Edward Higginbottom and Robert Quinney, and the BBC Singers.
The Washington University Madrigal Singers at the White House 
(RS is in the back row, just to the right of the conductor's hand)

Rhian Samuel is co-editor of The New Grove/Norton Dictionary of Women Composers (1994); her much-quoted preface to this dictionary discusses the situation of women composers over the past 100+ years. She has also written articles on several of the operas of Harrison Birtwistle, including Gawain, The Minotaur and The Second Mrs Kong, publishing for the two former works both the programme notes for the ROH and diaries of their first productions for the Cambridge Opera Journal.  In the United States, Rhian taught at Washington University, St Louis, where she completed a doctorate on 16th-century musica ficta, and the St Louis Conservatory of Music; in 1984 she returned to the UK, teaching at Kings College London, then Reading University. In 1995 she moved to City University, London, where she is now Emeritus Professor. She also tutored composition undergraduates at Magdalen College, Oxford University. She now composes full-time at her home in mid-Wales and in London. 

Much of Rhian Samuel’s music is published by Stainer & Bell Ltd, while a large number of works are published by Tŷ Cerdd, the Welsh Music Information Centre. Others are published by Novello, Cadenza, ABRSM, Curiad, Simrock and Andresier/Bardic.