He obtained a degree in chemistry at Jesus College, Oxford, before winning a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music (RCM). A particular preoccupation of his was the oeuvre of John Ireland. He studied much of Ireland’s piano output with the composer himself, who recommended him to undertake a recording of the complete Ireland piano music.
For much of his life Rowlands taught at the RCM, from which he retired in 1999.
- "Obituary of Alan Rowlands in The Times". The Times. 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- "Obituary of Maria Donska in The Independent". The Independent. 1997-01-06. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- "Royal College of Music". Royal College of Music. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
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