Huw Watkins: Vale of Glamorgan Festival

Huw Watkins: Vale of Glamorgan Festival

Ahead of this year’s Vale of Glamorgan Festival, we’re taking a closer look at the musicians set to perform this September. Continuing his preview of the Festival, David Roche explores the music of Welsh composer and pianist, Huw Watkins.

The Vale of Glamorgan Festival is lucky enough to have leading Welsh composer and pianist Huw Watkins make a return this year. Watkins is a supporting pillar of the UK’s musical culture, and his recent successes include a South Bank Sky Arts Award for his second symphony with the Hallé Orchestra (one of two Welsh recipients in our roster this year!). Watkins’ detailed, meaningful scoring supports his gloriously melodic, tightly-managed music at every turn. If you’re new to his compositional style, then I would recommend the following exquisite works.

Huw Watkins’ Three Welsh Folksongs are illustrative of the more traditionally melodic and beautifully expressive aspects of his music. Carefully controlled and presented in a manner that makes the most of the sensitivity of classical musicians – this is a beautiful introduction to this music (and also overty expressive of his Welshness). It’s not the only side of Watkins’ work, however.

Huw Watkins is also known – compositionally – for larger scale works. His music is impressively direct and fluid, with his characteristically clear writing having a direct and consistent musical impact. His music isn’t filled with wasted notes and gestures. It’s highly-decorated and conscientious.

Given Watkins’ ability as a performer and composer of chamber music, it’s perhaps no surprise that he has written a huge amount of wonderful music in this medium. His gloriously uncluttered and clear music speaks directly to its listeners and his performance of Lynne Plowman’s Lullaby for Ianto, a gorgeous work for solo piano, will no doubt be a highlight of our concert season this year. A clear reflection of his artistry as a soloist and champion of new music in Wales and internationally.

Huw Watkins is an extraordinary musician and you can hear more of him by checking out our introductory playlist here.

The Vale of Glamorgan Festival takes place from 22nd – 30th September and tickets are available here.