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Huw Watkins

Born in Wales in 1976, Huw Watkins studied piano with Peter Lawson at Chetham’s School of Music, and composition with Robin Holloway, Alexander Goehr, and Julian Anderson at Cambridge and the Royal College of Music. In 2001, he was awarded the Constant and Kit Lambert Junior Fellowship at the Royal College of Music, where he later taught composition. He is currently Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music. His growing body of orchestral works includes the widely acclaimed Violin Concerto (2010), for Alina Ibragimova, and two commissions from the London Symphony Orchestra: London Concerto (2005) and the Flute Concerto (2013), for Adam Walker. His longstanding relationship with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales has resulted in a number of works, including a Piano Concerto (2002) and a Double Concerto, for viola and cello (2005). As the Orchestra’s Composer in Association (2015 – 19), he has written a Cello Concerto for his brother, Paul Watkins, and Spring (2017), commissioned by BBC Radio 3. In 2017, the Hallé commissioned Watkins to compose his first Symphony.

Huw Watkins has produced a wealth of chamber music, amongst it a solo violin Partita (2006), for Alina Ibragimova, and a viola Fantasy (2006), for Lawrence Power. For the Nash Ensemble he has composed a Horn Trio, and for the Carducci Quartet a String Quartet, commissioned by the Manchester Chamber Concerts Society. For Paul Watkins he has written, amongst much else, Blue Shadows Fall (2012 – 13), commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center who, with Wigmore Hall, co-commissioned his Piano Quintet. His vocal works include In my craft or sullen art (2007), for tenor and string quartet, Five Larkin Songs (2009 – 10), for soprano and piano, which won a British Composer Award, Remember (2014), for soprano and string orchestra, written for Ruby Hughes, and Four Sonnets (2014), for Mark Padmore. From Music Theatre Wales he has received commissions for two chamber operas, both with libretti by David Harsent: Crime Fiction (2008) and In the Locked Room (2011 – 12), a co-commission with Scottish Opera.

As one of the U.K.’s finest pianists, Huw Watkins has premièred works by Oliver Knussen, Mark-Anthony Turnage, John Woolrich, and Michael Zev Gordon, and has performed concertos with orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra and London Sinfonietta. His discography includes a number of recordings of chamber music for Chandos Records.

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