Gareth Williams (composer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gareth Williams
Birth name Gareth Williams
Origin County Armagh, Northern Ireland
Occupations Composer
Years active 2000-

Gareth Patrick Williams (born 1977) is an award winning Irish composer working as the first composer in residence for Scottish Opera. His work spans from opera to chamber music and has been described as 'heart-stoppingly beautiful' [1] and 'deeply moving' [2]


Originally from Armagh, Williams moved to Glasgow after studying music at Queen's University, Belfast. In 2008 he was awarded his doctorate from the University of St Andrews. He taught composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland until 2012, and now works as a freelance composer. His work has been featured in the Edinburgh Festival, St Magnus Festival, Tête à Tête (opera company), Opera to Go, and the York Late Music Festival. Prizes include the Dinah Wolf Prize for Composition, and his piece Search Engines was winner of the 2000 Great British Conservatoire Composers Forum. His music has been broadcast on BBC Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Ulster, RTE Television, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, and CBC Radio 2 in Canada.

Since 2006, Williams has written many short operas. In 2009, he was on residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, where he wrote two large music theatre pieces - “A Short Treatise on Love and Miracles” for the Sound Festival in Aberdeen, and “Gethsemane” for the 2010 Plug Festival. In August 2009 and 2010, he took part in the LibLab at Tapestry New Opera Works in Toronto, to create short operas in collaboration with Canadian writers, and these were performed in the Opera Briefs festival in Toronto in both years. In Scotland, Noise Opera commissioned and premiered ‘the Sloans Project’ (with libretto by David James Brock). The Sloans Project was re-staged as “Glasgow Pub Operas” by Tapestry New Opera Works in Toronto in November 2011, and a new piece is now being developed for Tapestry’s 2014 season.

Williams is Composer in Residence at Scottish Opera, and he has created several works in this post. ‘Elephant Angel’ (with libretto by Bernard McLaverty) toured Scotland and Northern Ireland in Autumn 2012/ Another opera, ‘Last One Out’ (with libretto by Johnny McKnight), was premiered at the Sound Festival in 2012 in Fraserburgh Lighthouse, both works receiving five star reviews from The Herald (Glasgow) and The Scotsman. ‘Hand’ (with libretto by Johnny McKnight) was created for the 2013 Opera Highlights tour.

With the support of The Wellcome Trust, he has created ‘Breath Cycle’ (with libretto by David James Brock) at the Respiratory ward at Gartnavel Royal Hospital, where he is making songs and opera specifically for patients with Cystic Fibrosis. The material is bespoke to lung capacity, range, and ability, and the effects of singing on respiratory health are being monitored and measured. As the patients can not physically spend time together, most of this project is being developed and presented online.

In 2013/14, an opera adapted from The Rocking Horse Winner, by D.H. Lawrence, is planned with Canadian writer, Anna Chatterton, as is a new piece for Soprano and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

Selected works[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]