Huw Watkins

Huw Watkins

Huw Watkins (b.1976) is a British composer and pianist. Born in South Wales, he studied piano and composition at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, before reading Music at Cambridge University and completing an MMus in composition at the Royal College of Music.

During this time he studied piano with Peter Lawson and Peter Pettinger, learning composition with Robin Holloway, Alexander Goehr and Julian Anderson. In 2001 he was awarded the Constant and Kit Lambert Junior Fellowship at the Royal College of Music, where he is now a Professor of Composition.

Huw Watkins is an accomplished pianist, giving regular solo, chamber and orchestral performances. He is also in great demand both as composer, undertaking commissions for many of the world's leading orchestras and chamber groups.

He is regularly heard on BBC Radio 3, both as a soloist and with artists such as Daniel Hope, Nicholas Daniel and Alexandra Wood. He has also recorded Thomas Adès’ song cycle 'The Lover in Winter' with the countertenor Robin Blaze for EMI Classics.

In 1999, the Nash Ensemble premiered Watkins’ Sonata for Cello and Eight Instruments, which had been commissioned by Faber Music. The review in The Times declared that “at 22, Huw Watkins is already a composer to be reckoned with”. The work has since been performed by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in London , Paris , Copenhagen and Aldeburgh.

In 2000, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales gave the first performance of Watkins’ Sinfonietta under Grant Llewellyn, and as a result of the collaboration, a piano concerto was commissioned for the same orchestra. This was given its premiere - with Watkins at the piano - in May 2002.

His works include a Nocturne for solo horn and chamber orchestra - first performed and recorded in March 2002 by David Jolley and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra; a Cello Sonata, recorded by Paul and Huw Watkins for Nimbus Records on a CD of 20th Century British cello music; String Quartet No. 3, written for the Belcea Quartet and premiered at London's Wigmore Hall in 2004.

Other recent works include a London Concerto, commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra to mark their 100th year; Rondo for Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; a Nash Ensemble commission celebrating their 40th Anniversary and a Double Concerto for viola, cello and orchestra - premiered at the 2005 BBC Proms.

Watkins wrote 'In My Craft or Sullen Art' for tenor and string quartet, which was premiered by Mark Padmore and the Petersen Quartet at Wigmore Hall in May 2007.

Future commissions include his first chamber opera for Music Theatre Wales, where he is Jerwood Associate Composer and a new commission for the BBC Proms, 'Sad Steps', inspired by Philip Larkin's poem of the same name.

Huw Watkins is published by Schott Music Limited.

Selected works

* "Double Concerto" for viola, cello and orchestra (2005)
* "London Concerto" for violin, bassoon, harp and orchestra (2005)
* "Nocturne" for horn and chamber orchestra (2001)
* "Piano Concerto" (2002)
* "Rondo" for chamber ensemble (2005)
* "Sinfonietta" for orchestra (2000)

Chamber / Instrumental
* "Coruscation and Reflection" for violin and piano (1998)
* "Dream" for clarinet, violin and piano (2006)
* "Fanfares" for soprano saxophone and piano (2006)
* "Fantasy" for viola and piano (2006)
* "Four Spencer Pieces" for piano (2001)
* "Gig" for flute, clarinet, harp and string quartet (2005)
* "In My Craft or Sullen Art" for tenor and string quartet (2007)
* "Partita" for solo violin (2006)
* "Pièce d'orgue" for solo organ (2005)
* "Prelude" for solo cello (2007)
* "Romance" for violin and piano (2003)
* "Sonata" for cello and piano (2000)
* "Sonata for Cello and Eight Instruments" (1999)
* "String Quartet No.2" (2001)
* "String Quartet No.3" (2004)
* "Suite for Harp" (2006)
* "Tarantella" for violin and piano (2002)
* "Two Chorales" for clarinet and piano (2000)

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