Adrian Williams' multi-faceted career was launched with his winning the Menuhin Prize at the age of 22. Considered a child-prodigy he gave piano recital performances, composed his first compositions at the age of 11 and had consultations with Lennox Berkeley in London. He went on to be a distinguished student of the Royal College of Music where he held a Leverhulme scholarship, studying with John Lill, John Russell, Bernard Stevens and Alan Ridout. Further achievements followed; he became composer-in-residence at Charterhouse School, established the Presteigne International Festival in Wales, won the Guinness Prize and undertook many commissions.
A gifted orchestrator, he also enjoys excursions into film and musical theatre - mediums as expressive of his creative personality as concert hall or church. In his early twenties his arranging ability was noticed first by renowned arranger/conductor Peter Knight who used Williams to orchestrate scores for classical pops and TV shows, and later by Carl Davis in Music for the Movies.
His more serious works embrace a variety of genres and styles, yet, despite their diversity, share familial turns of melodic phrase and rhythmic gesture, together with a common generosity of spirit. The same tell-tale sound prints link and cross-reference scores as different as the tough Second String Quartet, the intricately orchestrated Tess, the diatonically revelling Spring Sonata for violin and harp, or the emotionally anguished Spring Requiem for cello and piano. Spring Requiem is included on a much acclaimed Metronome disc of cello works on which Raphael Wallfisch is partnered by the composer.
Adrian Williams has always enjoyed success as a pianist, and despite his heavy composition workload, he has always been busy as a concert artist, his astonishing improvisations in recitals being a speciality.
Despite a discerning ensemble catalogue (including the 1998 Chamber Concerto) and orchestral tours-de-force like the early Symphonic Studies and his BBC commission Dies Irae, (which gained him publication by Durand-Eschig, Paris) many consider Adrian Williams's vocal settings (to texts by, among others, W.H.Davies, Alun Lewis and Louis MacNeice) to be his most personal achievement. Springing from a deep love of 20th century British and Celtic romanticism in general, this music ties in well with the wild open countryside of Wales, where he lived from 1982, perhaps the single strongest influence within his creative world.
Since 1999 he has spent much of his time working in Japan, the beginning of which was marked by his Migrations for 22 solo strings, which received great critical and public acclaim at its Amsterdam Concertgebouw premiere. 2002 began with a broadcast of 'A smile and ashes' on BBC radio 3 and continued with commissions for the New Art Trio in Belgium, Japanese bassist Kazuo Okuda, I Fagiolini and the 2002 Cheltenham Festival, and since then further commissions for the Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Roy Goodman and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Canada. A 2003 Presteigne Festival commission for the Raphael Ensemble, 'Children of Baghdad', was a Classical Music Magazine 'premiere of the year'. Future commissions include concertos for Raphael Wallfisch and oboist François Leleux.
Based on an earlier text by Ates Orga, copyright 1998.
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