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Member Profile - Owen
Date of birth
Owen Leech studied composition with Robert Saxton and Raymond Warren at the University of Bristol, which awarded him a Ph.D. in 2002. He has also studied with Kurt Schwertsik (composition) and Diego Masson (conducting) at the Dartington International Summer School and, on receipt of a Polish government scholarship, with W³odzimierz Kotoñski at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw. His music has been performed widely in the United Kingdom and also in North America, Holland, Spain, Poland and Japan by such distinguished performers as the Schubert Ensemble of London, the English Northern Philharmonia under Elgar Howarth, cellist Jamie Walton and the Composers’ Ensemble.
Commissions over recent years have resulted in something of a focus on piano and string chamber music, including a particularly productive association with the Schubert Ensemble, for whom he has written a number of works, including a piano quartet, ‘A deeper season’, which they performed at the 2002 Cheltenham International Festival, London’s South Bank and on tour in Canada. ‘Into the ring of dancing shadows’, a new piano quintet for the Ensemble, was premiered at the 2005 Newbury Spring Festival, and further performances are scheduled next year in Los Angeles and at the South Bank. In early 2005, ‘Schulz’s Hourglass’, for cello and piano, received its first performance at Wigmore Hall, performed by Jamie Walton and Daniel Grimwood, closely followed by the premiere, in Massachusetts, of ‘The wind in the ash’ - a new work for piano quartet which was commissioned by Israeli-American cellist Yehuda Hanani for his New England chamber series, Close Encounters with Music.
Leech recently conducted an inaugural concert with his new Helios Chamber Orchestra in London – a venture which will focus particularly on new music and unusual repertoire from the 19th to 20th centuries. In December 2005, he was appointed conductor of the north-London based Tudor Orchestra. In the coming months he will make his Spanish debut with the International Chamber Orchestra of Córdoba (in a programme which includes the premiere of his new orchestral version of ‘The wind in the ash’) at the Villacarillo Festival and, in October, will conduct Handel’s Messiah (as part of Oxfam’s nationwide ‘Oxjam’ festival) at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre.
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