Scottish Opera has appointed Gareth Williams as its first ever composer in residence.
The post, which will sit within the Company’s already well-established Emerging Artists Programme, will last two years and provides a fantastic development opportunity for up-and-coming composers.
Gareth is already working on a number of projects including a community and schools opera, a piece that will feature in the Opera Highlights tour in January 2012, a chamber opera that will tour Scotland in Autumn 2012, and a pilot project to develop an evidence-based music therapy programme.
Scottish Opera’s Alex Reedijk said, ‘I see the development of Scotland’s artists as an integral part of our responsibility as a national opera company and creating a composer in residence programme is the logical next step by which to extend this process. The Emerging Artists programme has been so successful and it’s great to be able provide the right environment and opportunities for artists to grow and flourish in their professional careers. I can’t wait to see what Gareth will bring to the table, and where this might lead us in the future.’
Gareth created two short operas for Five:15 Operas Made in Scotland, is a lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has composed works for the Hebrides Ensemble, the Paragon Ensemble, Symposia, the Black Hair Ensemble, and the London Sinfionetta. He was the winner of the British Conservatoire Composers Forum 2000, and in 2004 won the Dinah Wolf prize for composition. His work has also been featured in the Edinburgh Festival, the St Magnus Festival, Opera to Go, and the York Late Music Festival. Closer to home, Gareth recently worked with NOISE to create the site-specific The Sloans Project, based on the history and characters of the local landmark.
Gareth said, ‘This is a great chance not only to spend time developing my composition skills, but to do it in an exciting artistic environment. Working with Scottish Opera means unlimited access to some of the best musicians, singers, directors, designers, and music educators in the opera world, as well as access to rehearsals, administrative and creative support. Possibly most importantly, it allows me free rein in terms of creativity. Most composer in residence programmes only last a year, but the length of this appointment means I’ll have a lot of time to continue honing my craft and produce some great work for Scottish Opera.’
Notes to Editors:
Originally from County Armagh, Gareth moved to Glasgow after studying music at Queen’s University, Belfast. He completed his Masters in Composition in 2000 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD), and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 2002. IN 2008 he completed his PhD in Composition at the Academy, studying with Gordon McPherson, and now teaches in the composition department. Over the last few years, Gareth has been active as a composer at the RCS, producing work for groups such as the Hebrides Ensemble, Scottish Opera, the Paragon Ensemble, Symposia, the Black Hair Ensemble, and the London Sinfionetta. He was the winner of the British Conservatoire Composers Forum 2000, and in 2004 he won the Dinah Wolf prize for composition.
His work has been featured in the Edinburgh Festival, the St Magnus Festival, Opera to Go, and the York Late Music Festival. In December 2004, Gareth was one of six composers who launched the Ken exhibition in Glasgow, organising a weekend festival of contemporary music and art, whilst composing, producing and performing an hour-long piece of music theatre. The piece, Dead Duck, was an exploration of nostalgia and contained images, objects and music that dates back to his childhood. The use of personal and popular material is a strong characteristic of his work and he performs regularly as a singer/songwriter and piano player.
His first opera, Love in the Blue Corner, was premiered at the Plug Festival in May 2006 and received a five star review in The Herald (Glasgow). In 2008, Gareth worked with Irish writer Bernard MacLaverty to create The King’s Conjecture for Scottish Opera’s Five:15 Made in Scotland, which led to a re-commission by the Company for White in 2009. New works in 2009 included Soft Rains, for solo soprano, six part choir, organ and taiko drums, commissioned to commemorate the building of the Clyde Tunnel in Glasgow, and three new opera scenes written and performed at the LibLab 2009 in Toronto by Tapestry Opera. One of these scenes was another collaboration with Bernard MacLaverty, and all three were performed again in Russia in March 2010.
Emerging Artists Programme
Scottish Opera, in partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, created the Emerging Artists Programme in 2009, giving graduate singers a year of full time work with the company to help them launch their careers. It is currently supported by funding from our Emerging Artists Benefactors, The Scottish Opera Endowment Trust, the John Mather Charitable Trust and The Robertson Scholarship Trust.