Roger Williams

October 22nd, 2008

Roger Williams, BMus PGCE PhD ARCM FTCL ARCO FRCO FCSM FGMS, began his musical education at the Huddersfield School of Music (now University) where he studied Piano, Organ, Harpsichord, Harp, Viola, Conducting and Composition. He graduated with BMus Honours from the University of Wales (University College Cardiff) before proceeding to Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. He was awarded a PhD for his research into the early works of Arnold Schoenberg at King’s College Cambridge.

He spent seven years in London as a conductor, organist, harpsichordist, singer and composer, working at various church posts, running a small opera company, singing with the BBC Singers and performing at major London concert venues (Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall). He was Head of the Evening Music Centre at Chiswick Polytechnic and Lecturer at West London Institute. In 1978 he took up an appointment as Lecturer in the Music Department at the University of Aberdeen and was later appointed Senior Lecturer and Head of Department. On the closure of the Music Department he was appointed Music Director to the University and subsequently Organist. On merger of Northern College, he was appointed Development Director to the B Mus Programme.

During the 1980s he was Assistant conductor to the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and in 1984 was appointed Chorus Master to the Scottish National Orchestra(now RSNO). During the five-year appointment, he worked with many international conductors, including Sir Alexander Gibson, Neeme Jaervi, Ahronovich, Bertini, Del Mar, Seaman, Rattle, Salonen, Thomson, Hickox, Tortelier. The chorus gave the first broadcast of Britten’s War Requiem on Italian radio on a tour to Turin, and on a tour to Jerusalem, the chorus gave the world premier of its first commission, Pipes of Peace by Eddie McGuire.

In 1995 he set up the Yggdrasil Quartet Residency project which brought the Swedish quartet to Aberdeen for extended residencies over a five year period. This culminated in the commission of Trumpet Quintet by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. The production of Shostakovich Quartet 8 at the Lemon Tree received The Scotsman Award for the most innovative programme of the year in 1998.