Guest of the Month Nov 2012: Huw Watkins
Huw Watkins is in great demand as composer and pianist. He is regularly heard on Radio 3, both as a soloist and chamber musician. He was Featured Composer at the 2009 Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts, and Composer in Residence at both the 2011 Heimbach Festival (at the invitation of Lars Vogt) and Nürnberg Festival. In 2011 he won the Vocal Award at the British Composer Awards for his Five Larkin Songs which he premiered with Carolyn Sampson at the 2010 Weekend of English Song in Ludlow.
Huw is currently our Composer in the House with Orchestra of the Swan. He told us:
“Composer in the House is a wonderful opportunity to infiltrate an orchestra. I am hoping to cajole Orchestra of the Swan into programming not just my music, but also a generous portion of the wide range of music being written today. I know that they are more than willing to do this, and I think their audience trust them enough to go along with it. It should be an exciting couple of years.”
We asked Huw to tell us some more about the music he’s heard recently that’s been impressing and influencing him:
Oliver Knussen ‘Autumnal’
I’m really listening to Olly’s flawless Violin Concerto on this new CD of his music. I’ve been lucky enough to work with OK a lot recently, and recording his exquisite piano piece, Ophelia’s Last Dance, has been a particular highlight.
George Shearing & The King’s Singers ‘Get Happy’
There are very few pianists, jazz or otherwise, I enjoy listening to more than George Shearing. I keep returning to this CD to hear the great rapport he has with the peerless King’s Singers.
Tippett ‘The Ice Break’
I don’t understand why Tippett’s later operas are so rarely performed. The Ice Break is a remarkable work and in the London Sinfonietta’s breathtaking recording is well worth a listen.
Brahms ‘Symphony No. 3’
My friend and colleague Robin Michael is principal cello of John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique. He gave me their CD of Brahms 3, a piece I already love, and it is one of the most energetic and gripping performances I’ve heard of the piece.
Micachu and the Shapes ‘Never’
Have been watching Micachu endlessly on YouTube – I’d better buy the album…